BY MWAKERA MWAJEFA
Kenyan innovative women should ignore structural barriers that have in the past impeded the girl-child from realising their full potential.
women for coming up with ideas that continue to transform lives in the country and the world at large.
The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, speaking recently, said women had the potential to transform lives both in Kenya and the world through addressing the gender inequalities that slow down the achievement of national development goals.
“Innovation unlocks opportunities by placing people at the heart of development and programs that empower their lives,” she said.
Mrs Kenyatta spoke at the Kenya School of Government in Kabete, Nairobi during celebrations to mark International Women’s Day whose theme for this year’s was ‘Think Equal, Build Smart and Innovate for Change’.
The First Lady cited various innovations that have transformed households and communities in Kenya such as M-Pesa and the Kenya Women’s Finance Trust’s mobile banking solutions.
She said these innovations have unlocked opportunities for millions of women in the rural areas across the country.
“Tele-medicine has saved many lives of mothers and children in hard to reach remote areas,” said the First Lady.
She praised Kenyan women and girls who have embraced innovation saying their new ideas in technology and science have helped in coming up with helpful interventions using the internet, mobile telephony and other emerging technologies.
The First Lady recognised the school girls who came up with sensors for explosive devices; girls who produced mobile apps to fight Female Genital Mutilation; and girls who developed sensors to alert and avert human wildlife conflict, amongst others.
During the function, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta launched the first edition of a book titled, “Pioneers & Transformers: The Journey of Women Trailblazers in Kenya.”
The book celebrates the achievements and the journeys of women as mothers, wives, entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors, activist, conservationists and politicians.
The First Lady also launched a curriculum on women leadership, which will be used to train women interested in politics.
Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs cabinet secretary Margaret Kobia said her ministry would continue to strengthen the policy framework to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.
She said her ministry has put in place measures to eradicate all forms of discrimination against women and men.
“I am happy to report that since the last International Women’s Day, the country’s endeavour to realize the right to equal opportunities in all spheres for men and women, girls and boys has been remarkable and remains on course,” she said.
Spouse to former Prime Minister Ida Odinga condemned the Court of Appeal judges’ proposal to lower the age of girls consent to sex from 18 years to 16 years saying it is unconstitutional and urged women to reject such a proposal.
Mrs Odinga said at age 16, a girl has not matured enough to make independent decisions on such weighty matters.
Other speakers included ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and Canada’s High Commissioner to Kenya Lisa Stadelbauer.