Kenya wins global award for promoting women participation in politics

NEW YORK

3333Devolution CS Anne Waiguru (third right) speaks at the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York. Kenya has received an international award from the Women in Parliaments Global Forum for promoting the political advancement of women. PHOTO | COURTESY

Kenya has won an international award for promoting the political advancement of women.

The award by the Women in Parliaments Global Forum was expected to be handed over to President Uhuru Kenyatta at an international summit that opens in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, later in March 2015.

News of the award was broken Monday morning to Kenyan delegates attending the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN Headquarters in New York by Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru.

“We are very happy because Kenya is getting placed very well on the world map,” Ms Waiguru said.

The CS is the head of Kenya’s delegation to the 10-day conference.

She was speaking to delegates who include women MPs, senators and members of the civil society at a review meeting at the Kenya Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

She announced that President Kenyatta, who had been invited to receive the award at the summit, would not be able to attend.

Instead, the meeting settled on MPs Alice Wahome (Kandara), Florence Mutua (Busia County) and Senator Naisula Lesuda to receive the award on behalf of Kenya.

DECREASING GENDER GAP

Women in Parliament’s project manager Sara Andergiorgis said in addition to receiving “the prestigious award” Kenya would be given an opportunity to address what she described as high-level governmental representatives from more than 70 countries around the world to highlight the country’s efforts in “decreasing the gender gap in the political sphere’.’

In welcoming the recognition, Ms Waiguru said one of the major reasons that Kenya was making strides in advancement of women was the realisation by the Jubilee administration that gender disparities affect and manifest themselves in development and “it is the first step towards promoting empowerment”.

President Kenyatta’s Cabinet of 18 has six women who hold key ministries.

In Parliament, 25 per cent of representatives are women, up from 9.9 per cent in 2007.

The 2010 Constitution created affirmative action seats for the 47 county woman representatives and 18 nominated women in the Senate, with two representing special interests.

FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT

The 2014 Women in Parliaments Award for Lifetime Achievements in Female Political Empowerment went to Vigdis Finnbogadottir, the first woman in the world to be elected President.

Elected in 1980, she was the fourth president of Iceland and stepped down in 1996 after four terms in office but is still active in public life.

The WIP awards will be presented at the summit to countries recognised for their political advancement of women and which also show regional leadership in closing the gender gap in politics.

“The awards are based on the rankings of the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report which are compiled in collaboration with Harvard University and University of California, Berkeley,” said summit organisers.

The Women in Parliaments Global Forum is the international network of women parliamentarians at the national level and includes the European Parliament.

The membership is currently around 9,000.

This year’s summit will be held in Addis Ababa between March 23-25 at the Nelson Mandela Hall in the African Union Headquarters.

The European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank are some of the international institutions that will be part of this year’s summit.

 

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