President Uhuru Kenyatta today led Kenyans in honouring the country’s female high achievers as he launched the trailblazer initiative which seeks to identify and honour Kenyan women whose heroic works contributed immensely to shaping Kenya.
At a function held at State House Nairobi, President Kenyatta presented State Honours to women who have championed equality and played big roles in encouraging other women to achieve more.
“Kenya is a nation of strong women and we salute you,” said the President Kenyatta as he stated that over the last few years Kenya has made immense progress in empowering women so that they can play a bigger role in Kenya's progress.
The women who were awarded were considered as distinguished heroines who have left huge footprints in the political, social and economic landscape of the country.
Nyiva Mwendwa who was the first Kenyan woman Cabinet Minister, Ida Odinga who was recognised for the role she has played in politics, education and entrepreneurship, and the late Margaret Kenyatta, the first woman mayor of Nairobi were all awarded the Elder of the Golden Heart medals. The late Margaret Kenyatta was awarded posthumously.
Mrs Phoebe Asiyo, Dr Julia Ojiambo, Beth Mugo, Lady Justice Joyce Aluoch, Zipporah Kittony, Prof Wanjiku Kabira, Edah Gachugia, Honorine Kiplagat, Dr Jane Kiano, retired Lady Jutice Effie Owuor, Prof Maria Nzomo, Prof Leah Marangu, Muthoni Likimani and Mary Okello were feted with the Order of the Burning Spear award for their various achievements.
Another group of women were awarded the Moran of the Burning Spear and they included Dr Evangeline Muli, Dr Jeniffer Riria, Wilkister Onsando, Joan Mjomba, Jael Mbogo and Teresia Shitaka.
Terry Kantai, Kamla Sikand, Rukia Subow and Rose Waruhiu were awarded the Order of the Grand Warrior.
In the ceremony attended by Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, President Kenyatta said the trailblazer initiative will be an annual event and will provide platform for Kenyans to celebrate outstanding women in our midst.
At the same event, President Kenyatta launched a book by Phoebe Asiyo chronicling her journey through life from her rural childhood through history to reached the pinnacle of society as a celebrated legislator.
Speaking on Asiyo’s achievements, President Kenyatta said the government will explore ways of assisting Kenyans who have played public roles to chronicle their life stories.
The Head of State instructed Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed to take up the initiative of coming up with a mechanism through which government can aid those who need help to write their autobiographies.
Deputy President William Ruto said the recognition of women trailblazers was long overdue adding that women like Mrs Asiyo were icons of Kenya’s political landscape.
“The recognition of the great women of Kenya is long overdue. It should have come much earlier but God’s timing is the best,” said the Deputy President.
The DP encouraged more women to write their life stories, adding that as a politician he knows the power and influence of women.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta said the women being honoured had stood up in an audacious manner to get their voices heard. She said Mrs Asiyo was a role model for many generation of Kenyan women.
“Her book will be a great reminder that women have been part of Kenya’s history,” said the First Lady.
On his part, former PM Odinga said he was pleased to attend the function and echoed President Kenyatta's sentiments that the recognition of Kenyan women trailblazers was an important step towards celebrating the role women have played in shaping the Kenyan nation.
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