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					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.

				
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