“Whether Women are better than men, I cannot say, but I can say that they are certainly not worse”-Golda Mier, Israeli Prime Minister.
In a matriarchal government, women’s nurturing instincts rule as they determine the operations of the government. With a special focus on her “children” ensuring that they do not live in poverty and ignorance. Despite efforts by various stakeholders to empower women, fewer women are running for office. This is in spite of the gender parity laws as stipulated on Article 81(b) of the Kenya’s constitution that stipulates “Not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies should be of the same gender”. However, this does not mean that we should elect women for the sake of it but because they are equally good leaders who can lead us. Given equal opportunities, women too can lead. It should be noted that in the event that the gender requirement is not achieved then the Kenyan government will be rendered obsolete.
The media sadly is not giving equal coverage to aspiring women leaders as well as constant education on the gender constitutional requirement of why it is vital to give women a chance to lead. Considering that women are almost half of the Kenyan population as per the 2009 census records, women need proper representation in positions of authority. That said rarely will women support fellow women. Perhaps it is true that women are their worst enemies! I have been to discussions and I would hear people say they wouldn’t vote in a woman because they are too emotional, questioning whether she is married and to whom? These arguments hint on fallacies targeting at a person instead of the issues they are advocating. It may be late now to learn from Burundi but in a past election, they had an interesting slogan to champion women to vote: Women Vote and Get yourself Voted! It is not surprising that their neighbor Rwanda has about 56.2% of women in the national government. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia show that women can hold elective posts. Same is said for Indonesia, India as well as Pakistan. What then is holding Kenyan women back? What is locking them out of leadership positions? Don’t women make great leaders, right from families, why are we relaxed in giving them a chance in decision making position? Could it be because national politics are dictated by handouts and freebies such that we don’t care who wants our vote: whether a man or women provided they can oil our palms. Let it not be assumed that elections are supposed to be about gender, on the contrary they are to be on merit. If a woman proves her salt that she deserves leadership position…by all means, let HER lead!
Now I am certain that there are those who hold stereotypes that Kenya may not be ready yet for women leaders. Let it be known that not even an army can stop an idea whose time has come. In the 2013 elections, it is evident that a portion of women have realized that the time has come for women are not afraid to come out and contest like anybody else. We know that our politics is marred with violence, bribery, corruption and tribalism but this should not make aspiring women candidates relent to push forward their agenda in positions of authority. Unless we speak and realize our rightful positions in the modern day Kenya and World, our fate as women (even worse young women) we will continue being subjected to practices and a fate that will dictate the direction of our growth vis a vis that of men. The world is watching to see whether Kenya will embrace matriarchal leadership, one third at the very least.
To the aspiring Kenyan women who contested the March 4th 2013 election, consider yourself a winner and a much needed fresh breath of leadership for believing that you can improve Kenya through your skills. The passion, resilience and courage you exude as well as your readiness to serve and lead Kenyans is worth emulating. As the world marks the International Day of Women, let us remember women in Kenya and Africa who took a bold step and entered a “male-dominated” field. Some did it; perhaps this should be a challenge to me as well as other “undecided’ women who are not sure if they can make it in governance and in elective posts. I am thinking about it, the buck stops with me, so you too should consider it becoming a reality. Let HER Lead!