Kenya has achieved gender parity in schools- First Lady

Kenya has achieved gender parity in schools- First Lady

Kenya has achieved gender parity in both primary and secondary education, this is according to First Lady Margaret Kenyatta has said.

The First Lady was speaking  during the 6th Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians (Africa region) conference at Safari Park hotel, Nairobi where she enumerated the various steps the country has taken on ensuring gender parity.

She also appreciated the significant increase in the number of girls enrolling for secondary and tertiary education in the country.

“We have also seen an increment in female Members of Parliament from 7 out of 222 in 1998 to 86 out of 418 in the National Assembly and the Senate in 2013,” the First Lady said.

The First Lady told the conference, whose theme was “opportunity and empowerment in the post-2015 development agenda”, that out of the country’s Cabinet of 19, six are women with an equivalent number as Principal Secretaries out of 26.

“Kenya has enacted laws that reserved 30% of all public procurement for women, youth and persons with disabilities. An Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Board has also been established in an effort to end FGM,” she added.

The First Lady also observed that many girls are enrolled in school in commonwealth countries now compared to 15 years ago.

“Gender parity has been achieved at the primary level in 69% of countries globally,” she added.

The First Lady however expressed concern that only 17 % of commonwealth women hold key ministerial posts such as Defense, Finance, and Foreign Affairs, adding that women make up only 15 % of the 193 Heads of Government globally.

Saying achieving gender equality remain a significant challenge, the First Lady urged delegates to use the conference as a forum to build on the successes and momentum of the Millennium Development Goals.

“Our roles in ensuring that agenda is well facilitated will have to involve a strengthened global partnership for development,” she said.

The First Lady said the women empowerment agenda should strive to include supportive policies towards increasing the involvement of women in enterprises.

She rooted for local dialogue to find solutions to women issues and encourage them to take leadership roles and replicate the best empowerment practices.

The First Lady emphasized the need for advocates of women empowerment to reach out to those currently not involved in the agenda.

“This conference is indeed timely, as it is happening during a period when new global development goals are being crafted for the post-2015 era. It is therefore prudent that we ensure that this process fully encompasses the voice of women from across the entire Commonwealth,” she said.

Mrs Kenyatta said while meaningful progress has been made in achieving gender equality for women and girls through the Millennium Development Goals, strategies that emphasize on their participation should be formulated.

The First Lady said at least 15 Commonwealth countries have reached the global target of 30% women at all levels of political decision making with over a third of female Speakers of Parliament coming from Commonwealth States.

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Maureen Murimi
Story By Maureen Murimi
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