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Gender officers to champion Affirmative Gender Actions in Counties

The Principal Secretary (PS) for Gender and Affirmative Action, Veronica Nduva, has tasked county gender officers to champion the implementation of policies on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The PS said the government is committed to strengthening key policies and programs at the grassroots level that address discrimination and violence against women in the country.

She said the officers will take a proactive role in collaboration with the County Gender Sector Working Groups to implement the two-thirds gender rule that seeks to address gaps in achieving gender equality.

She disclosed that the government has already initiated a multi-agency team that comprises state and non-state actors, which will inform steps towards realizing the gender rule by the end of the year.

She said gender officers will implement programmes and policies that promote gender-responsive budgeting and planning, the participation of women in political leadership and decision-making, and the integration of gender perspectives into all sectors of development.

The PS said the government has initiated digitization of women’s empowerment programs such as the Women’s Fund, Youth Fund, and Affirmative Action Fund that will enable beneficiaries to access services and funding through digital platforms.

Speaking during the opening of a county gender officers workshop in Naivasha, the PS said the government has prioritized key point agendas for women which will promote and bridge the gender equality gap in the country.

She said the government will roll out economic empowerment programs, include women in leadership, address gender-based violence and female genital mutilation, and enhance social welfare for women in the diaspora.

In addition, she said, the government will also address women’s health issues, provide a clean and safe environment, implement the free sanitary towel programme and address women’s and girls’ land rights.

According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2022 Report, women in the lowest wealth bracket are more likely to get pregnant, with the marginalized counties being the most affected.

The data indicates women in Samburu County are likely to experience teenage pregnancy at 50 per cent, West Pokot at 36 per cent, Marsabit at 29 per cent and Narok at 28 per cent.

On land ownership rights, the data indicates that only three per cent of women own agricultural land, with 62 per cent of them lacking a title deed for the land as compared to men’s 22 per cent.

The survey also indicates that women bear the burden of gender-based violence, with those who have experienced physical violence since age 15 being highest in Bungoma (62%) and lowest in Mandera (9%).

The survey also indicates that women are the most prone to sexual violence, with the data showing that 13 per cent of women have reported to have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives.

According to research from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, women are likely to experience sexual violence in the counties of Bungoma (30%), Murang’a (24%), Homa Bay (23%), and Embu (22%).

It is on this front, the government says it will engage other partners to scale up programmes and interventions that will address gender concerns and gaps in order to achieve gender parity.

By Erastus Gichohi

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