Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki, Eminent women, Distinguished guests.
Good afternoon and Happy International Women’s Day (once again if giving the speech at KICC).
It is an honour to be with you to celebrate International Women’s Day, as we have done together this morning, and to spend this afternoon a very special group of women. We celebrate you for your unsung diligence and dedication to this country, our communities, and our families.
It is appropriate that in line with this years’ theme of being bold for change, we are here in part to recognise some remarkable women in our history who have had an incredible impact on our country either individually or through collective action.
Today we celebrate you ‘path-finders’, as appropriately referred to in the Pathfinders book that we will be launching - who courageously stood up and stepped out in audacious ways to make your voices heard, champion political change, and economically empower many Kenyan families and communities. They have paved the way for the rest of us, and without them, I doubt any of us would be what we are.
Because history tends to marginalise women’s positive contributions, this book is critically important for our society and for our children. It is an inspiring, encouraging, empowering reminder that women were involved at every stage of forging and building this nation we call home, and are as entitled to belong to this country, to be protected by its constitution and to shape its future.
Today, we are also here to launch the Status of Women in Kenya Report 2016— a detailed document assessing the progress we have made, and the challenges we face in the work of advancing gender equality nationally. This report highlights the last decade, and considers a wide range of issues - including the economic, social and political spheres. It also focuses on programs and interventions that the Government has made to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, while giving recommendations for our future.
So, I want to thank and commend the Ministry of Gender and Public Service for compiling this comprehensive document, which I believe will be critical to guiding all stakeholders, from the National and County Governments, to Parliament, the Judiciary and Civil Society, towards strategic interventions that most effectively address with some of the pressing issues facing women today.
It is heartening to read about some of the gains we have made as a country over the last ten years, and my hope is that we will see bigger strides and advancements over the next decade. I think that is a hope we all share for our daughters and granddaughters. I do not believe I would be remiss to say that they are our ongoing inspiration and motivation. For their sake, let us emulate our ‘path-finding’ women of our past and penetrate their struggle for a fairer, free-er, more equitable society.
With those remarks it is my pleasure and privilege to officially launch the book, Pathfinders, and the Status of Women in Kenya Report, 2016.
Thank you and God Bless you all.