It’s evidently a good time for women in the industry. We are increasingly seeing more women in senior positions, running large businesses; even in traditionally male-dominated roles and sectors, women are balancing the scale. We are lucky to be surrounded by some very influential, smart and collaborative women at all levels of the business hierarchy who have acted as a support network, mentoring and helping us to develop the skills required in a competitive industry and ultimately making us grow.
March 8th was International Women’s Day, a worldwide event that celebrates both the individual and wider achievements of women in business, tech, creative and more. Was gratifying to see the tremendous progress we’ve made over the years in terms of greater gender equality and diversity in general. All of this has taken its time, through steady efforts by several women in these areas to bypass the stereotypes and showing that we can do it.
Here at FAWE Kenya we celebrated it by inviting our members to a workshop to support FAWEK’s emphasis on girls’ intervention by serving as a vehicle to raise awareness, and advocate for reduction of factors contributing to girls’ dropping out of school. They would then represent the organization across the country and promote establishment and strengthening of existing FAWEK branches. This could be by getting involved in FAWEK research work to enhance evidence based interventions as they are a pool of potential educationalists including gender specialists, professors and postgraduate degree holders in different fields of study, researchers, policy makers and volunteers, and enhance visibility.
The members had different views on how the County formations could be strengthened. These were some of the proposed strategies to have more members joining the forum:-
- Public sensitization on FAWEK by registered members from their respective counties.
- Identification of the potential who will support in the formations through their networks
- Members to make use of their networks to register members.
We also had the following members sharing their presentations at the celebrations.
- Harriet from Migori mentioned how the knowledge she got from the commonwealth has enabled her to empower girls and young women to take up science related courses. Scholarship this is her speech “Being a nominating agency of commonwealth scholarship commission has opened greater doors for women to access resources for advancing education”
- Ruth Nashipae Muigai-FAWE Kenya Nominee Commonwealth Alumni. Made a presentation on the status of women leadership nationally and at the intercontinental level and encouraged women to tap into available opportunities that FAWEK is offering to women.
- Halima Dube from Nairobi encouraged the members with a poem on “every woman should know” the poem really motivated the members and an eye opener on how they can encourage women and girls to achieve their goals in life.
During the parallel sessions, moderated by Mary Mwito our Organising Secretary, there were keynote speeches from Mr Boaz ANCEFA who assured the women that he is supporting equality and Ms Nelly Marete from the Ministry of Education who mentioned that “All around the world we need to listen to the women and girls who are rightly proclaiming their rights. We must join together as partners – women and girls, men and boys – to make gender equality a reality for all”.
Diversity needs to shift from quota attainment to nurturing diverse talent. International Women’s Day was a perfect time to remember that as a senior woman, we carry a burden to mentor the talented upcoming women in our industry. We need to get to a point where gender diversity is not thought about in all businesses, and the balance is 50:50. We need to continue working towards a world where diversity in all forms is embedded in both a company and its employees’ behaviour.