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Inclusion of women in leadership key to eliminating harmful cultural practices

Women inclusivity in leadership positions is the key towards elimination of harmful cultural practices prevalent in pastoral communities.

Speaking during International Women day celebrations in Kiwanja Ndege in Laikipia County, leaders hailed the 2010 constitution for entrenching women leadership.

Some of the notable achievements in the pastoral areas include management of natural resources where at least five women are represented in the 15 the community land committee which previously was a male domain.

“Women were never involved in land ownership, but with the 2010 constitution, we have been uplifted, we are in community land register where we became automatic members by the virtue of being married,’’ said Peninah Kisio, a Laikipia north resident.

At the same time, women noted that being in leadership positions had enabled them to steer their communities in the right path since they can make decisions geared towards development.

Through this empowerment, women have been able to diversify in the income generating activities for instance bee keeping, chicken rearing and farming aimed at supporting their families.

Lydia Wangui, a bee farmer, said that, following the economic empowerment by the women-led organizations in the county, they had started embracing bee keeping ventures which had helped local women educate their children and at the same time end domestic violence.

“We harvest honey by ourselves, refine, package and sell. We have been economically empowered and we have something as women, we can educate and support our children,” said Wangui.

Additionally, she pointed out that bee farming was male dominated sector and the majority of women had shied away from engaging in the sector.

On his part, Laikipia County Executive Committee Member in charge of education Stephen Kisorio discouraged men from marrying women who had undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) as a way of eradicating harmful cultural practices in the pastoral areas.

“FGM is a retrogressive and harmful cultural practice and my appeal is for women to protect their children. Men too should take the lead for not marrying circumcised women,” said Kisorio.

Meanwhile, International Women’ Day is normally commemorated on March 8 annually and this year’s theme was ‘’investing in women: Accelerate progress.’’ targeting to create awareness on gender equality and women’s well-being for social-economic sustainability.

In Laikipia, over 600 people participated in the event that was supported by UN Women and other partners.

By Muturi Mwangi


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