The Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers meeting to be held in Nairobi from next week will provide an opportunity for actors in Gender Equality and Women Empowerment to show case how best to create a more comfortable present and future for women.
The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender(CS), Prof. Margaret Kobia has said that the meeting, which is returning to Nairobi after a 34 year hiatus, will be an excellent forum to share experiences and lessons as well as forge common positions on topical gender issues for effective policy action.
The CS further noted that the meeting whose theme is ‘from commitment to action: Accelerating gender equality and women’s empowerment for sustainable development’ is in line with the four gender priorities of the Commonwealth which include women in leadership, women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women and girls and gender and climate change.
“This meeting provides a platform to strategize on emerging gender issues by examining critical areas which still require further attention, share experiences and lessons learned, forge common positions accelerating gender equality and empowerment of women and girls,” said Kobia.
Speaking during a media briefing on Friday on the 12WAMM, Kobia said that the focus of this meeting should be how the Commonwealth countries can contribute toward achieving the global agenda-setting process as well as share innovative approaches that empower women and girls and accelerate achievement of gender equality.
“Kenya has fared well in addressing the gender equality. We have a constitution that guarantees freedom against violence, we have a robust legislation and policy especially for women and girls who are faced with marginalization, the implementation of the Big 4 Agenda which supports women gender equality,” said Kobia.
On the economic front, Kobia said that the government has improved the economic status of women where women and youth funds programmes have been initiated to support marginalized women and girls.
She emphasized that on maternal health, realization the percentage has increased from 52 to 60 and that the female life expectancy has been growing from 50 to 69.9 percent.
“The president has made a commitment to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) by the year 2022 and as we go on this meeting, we should ask ourselves what the emerging challenges are so that we can discuss and prevent them, “said Kobia.
She further revealed that Kenya will be hosting the International Convention on Population and Development (ICPD) from November 12 to 15, 2019 which is the fifth anniversary of the Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In a speech read on behalf of Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland, the Commonwealth Gender Section Head, Amelia Kinahoi Siamomua said that the 12th WAMM theme resonates with the Commonwealth goal of achieving full and equitable participation for all through the three Ds of Democracy, Development and respect for Diversity.
“We want equal access to resources and opportunities for girls and women especially in education, health, employment, justice and delivery of public services which must achieved if we are to make progress towards this goals,” said Siamomua.
She further added that the 12th WAMM will be convened within the global context of accelerating gender equality and women empowerment, with the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action approaching in 2020, dialogue for Beijing +25 planned for the 64th Session of the UN Commission for the Status of Women in March 2020 and the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) planned for Kigali, Rwanda in June 2020.
In attendance was Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender, the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Rachel Shebesh who said that the women’s meeting is a platform where the public can engage, address violence against women and girls and evaluate Women’s achievements and challenges.
By Pauline Okeng’a/Charity Kanyoro