There is need for the country to mainstream the principal of equality between men and women in development policies and agenda in order to eradicate sexism across all sectors for the sake of advancement of all genders.
Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Ms Nadia Ahmed said if equality is included as a principal goal in all sectors, singling out justice, education, employment, culture and sports among others, there will be more welfare, jobs and economic growth.
Ms Nadia said gender stereotypes are still intrinsic traits of our societies as men and women are still conditioned by their traditional roles which creates a lot of gender gaps within the society.
She said stereotypical social roles given to both male and female has limited their opportunities to fulfill their potential to develop their personal abilities, pursue their professional careers and to make choices about their lives.
The CAS was speaking at the University of Nairobi Annual Youth Dialogue on Gender, an event organized by the University of Nairobi Student’s Association to create awareness among students on the importance of gender of equality.
Ms Nadia called upon the students to deliberate and come up with the right measures that will tackle gender stereotypes and sexism which has harmful effects in society, adding that a lot needs to be done to reach the marginalized groups and communities to eliminate disparities and discrimination.
“Gender stereotyping results in violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of both men and women, and presents a serious obstacle to the achievement of real gender equality as it perpetuates discrimination, unequal or unfair treatment,” she stated.
Ms Nadia said the sharing of good practices by the students will be the basis of the guideline that might be put forward to further tackle the issues of stereotyping and sexism.
She at the same time reiterated the government’s commitment to change the attitudes and to eliminate stereotypes at both the individual and institutional levels.
“To achieve this, the government has put in place various programmes that include gender mainstreaming, affirmative action and gender responsive budgeting,” Ms Nadia said adding that the Ministry of ICT is committed to safeguard the rights of the youth, which is critical in achieving gender equality and sustainable development.
The CAS said that the Ministry of ICT has set up the Youth Enterprise Development Fund to cater for the youth and people living with disabilities to initiate development programmes, which she said has helped to promote gender equality and protect youth minorities against discrimination.
The Kenya Youth Development Policy conforms to universally recognized human rights, it endeavors and subscribes to the principles of equal and equitable distribution of socio-economic, political opportunities, services and resources. It also promotes gender inclusive and gender sensitive youth programmes and policies.
By Bernadette Khaduli