International Women’s Day Statement Connecting Girls; Inspiring Futures Of the occasions we as the human race love to commemorate - most can fall under the theme: freedom triumphing over oppression and injustice. The world over we recognize the need to discard prejudice, to maintain respect and love for one another, and to promote equity and equality. These are the themes common to all those social and political movements we generally recognize as being great, and beneficial to the human race. The world over for as long as we can recall the human race has struggled to overcome evil distortions that consider one life as superior to another by virtue of race, or gender or ethnicity or any other number of things. A litany of failures is strewn across our history, and has left scars on our conscience. From slavery to genocides we have seen the capacity of humanity to injure to repress and to oppress. The voices of those who have dared to challenge these injustices and the systems that uphold them, still echo in the corridors of history, we remember those who, an ocean away, proudly declared that they had a dream, we remember the famous speeches of the Harriet Tubman’s; the eloquent warfare of people like my own father and all the bravery of those who, within these borders, fought for the right to self- governance, and for the liberties we now enjoy. In the midst of these great movements for equality, equity and social justice the women’s movement, since the early 1980s when it begun to get politicized, has raised its hand to be counted as one amongst these great movements. The struggle to overcome the distortion that pits men and women against each other, that claims men are more entitled and more deserving than women or that women are far feebler and less able or less capable than men, has been a long one. These tyrannical stereotypes have long oppressed the human mind and kept our nation from realizing it’s full potential. Yet the women (and men) who have committed themselves to this struggle have been resilient. Today, around the world we will once again raise up voices to acknowledge the women in our community. We will acknowledge the strength that can plough fields and pick up babies, give comfort and guiding discipline while providing for households. We will acknowledge once more, that men and women are endowed with abilities that cannot be contained by stereotypes. We will indeed, urge the shattering of stereotypes and continue to speak of the slogan that I’ve often told my own daughter: “You can do anything you put your mind to”. This year, the common theme that runs as a thread holding together all speeches and seminars being held in honor of this particular international women’s day is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Future”. The plight to encourage and support girls is one that is so intimately linked with our deepest desires and national dreams as outlined in the Vision 2030 and is one that must resonate with anyone who claims to be in support of the movement towards gender equality. In order to create a globally competitive and prosperous nation we must focus much attention on ensuring that we connect girls to the resources, and support systems they need to not only survive- but to thrive, pursue their dreams and contribute to the nation’s economy. It’s a well-known fact that women across this nation face a very unique set of issues and it is important that we as a nation undertake to see to it that these issues are exhaustively addressed. By virtue of certain societal problems, raising a daughter has never been easy. As a father to my daughter, I have felt certain fears with relation to my daughter; Ngina. It’s interesting because no matter how strong, determined and intelligent she may be- the fears do not completely dissipate. Will she be afforded the opportunities that are her due? Will she be overlooked? Will she face certain challenges within a work environment simply on account of her gender? These are questions that should not appear within the thinking of a civilized society. These are questions which, as we move into the coming years, we must struggle to ensure remain in the past. Connecting girls apart from meaning that we must connect girls to opportunities must also mean that we must ensure that we are able to connect girls with other older women who can support and encourage them. By ensuring that girls are connected to the right support systems we will ensure that more girls are encouraged to pursue their dreams in whatever field. With the new constitution we have a great opportunity to ensure that girls across the nation have more women they can look up to in terms of women who are engaged on the political front. It is important that women continue to prepare to vie for parliamentary seats and that we continue to strive to ensure that more women are seen in the senate, judiciary, and national assembly. Ultimately the onus is on us to ensure that we create an environment where we spend less and less time discussing the ways in which our society serves to make women’s lives woeful and more and more time presenting our nation, as an exemplary example of what can be achieved when equality and equity prevail within a civilized society. Happy International Women’s Day! Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.