Kenya’s Gender Dilemma

 

This is taken from a recent report on Board Diversity and Inclusion from KIM (Kenya Institute of Management).  To view the report, please click here

The report was also discussed in an article by Pauline Kairu in the Daily Nation on 5th December 2017.  The article can be read here

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16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence

Greetings everyone.  This year’s 16 Days of Activism started on November 25th and will run until December 10th.  The theme this year is “Together we can end GBV in Education”.  For more about the campaign and to download the action toolkit, please click here

For information on UN Women activities, please click here

For background information about the 16 Days Campaign, please click here

As we celebrate 16 days of activism against GBV, did you know that Women and Girls with disabilities experience double discrimination, which places them at higher risk of gender-based violence, sexual abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation. The global literacy rate in some places can be as low as one per cent for women with disabilities, according to a UNDP study. The World Bank reports that every minute more than 30 women are seriously injured or disabled during labour and that those 15-50 million women generally go unnoticed…

Please use the following hashtags to get involved with the campaign:

#SayNoToGBV

#IStandwithGirlsWithDisabilities

#16DaysOfActivismAgainstGBV2017

#YouHaveThePower2ChangeYourLife

 

 

The #Me Too# Campaign on Sexual Harrassment

In support of the #me too# campaign:

  1. Lupita Nyong’o: Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein by Lupita Nyongo

‘I hope we can form a community where a woman can speak up about abuse and not suffer another abuse by not being believed and instead being ridiculed. That’s why we don’t speak up — for fear of suffering twice, and for fear of being labeled and characterized by our moment of powerlessness’. Lupita Nyogo

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/19/opinion/lupita-nyongo-harvey-weinstein.html

2.       Our story of rape and reconciliation by Thordis Elva (TED Talk)

I was raised in a world where girls are taught that they get raped for a reason. Their skirt was too short, their smile was too wide, their breath smelled of alcohol. And I was guilty of all of those things, so the shame had to be mine. It took me years to realize that only one thing could have stopped me from being raped that night, and it wasn’t my skirt, it wasn’t my smile, it wasn’t my childish trust. The only thing that could’ve stopped me from being raped that night is the man who raped me — had he stopped himself’. Thordis Elva

Source:https://www.ted.com/talks/thordis_elva_tom_stranger_our_story_of_rape_and_reconciliation/discussion?utm_campaign=social&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_content=talk&utm_term=global-social%20issues#t-199673

3.     Violence against women — it’s a men’s issue by Jackson Katz (TED Talk)

‘But there’s so many men who care deeply about these issues, but caring deeply is not enough. We need more men with the guts, with the courage, with the strength, with the moral integrity to break our complicit silence and challenge each other and stand with women and not against them’. Jackson Katz

Source:https://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue

4.     Street Harassment by BBC

Harassment in public spaces is something that most women have experienced or will experience’

Source:https://www.facebook.com/BBC100women/videos/vb.948946275170651/1545931298805476/?type=2&theater

 

 

We are back

We are sorry we have been away for months now! This was due to unavoidable circumstances.

We welcome you to read these two articles and to share your feedback.

  1.  We must Expose how we Really Value Girls and Women in Society By Fiona Mcleod SC:

    ‘Use your voice – in defence of those who are powerless and those who are vulnerable, and to name injustice when you see it, because there is nothing more satisfying than using your learning and your training in the service of others’.

  2. Source: https://womensagenda.com.au/latest/141-australian-barristers-nations-worst-pay-gap-can-done/

  1.  2. The Top 10 Phrases Used by People Who Claim They Are Not Racist By Michael Harriot:

  2. ‘Black people want to be treated like everyone else. We don’t desire to be seen as everyone else. Most African Americans, Mexicans, Jews, etc., love their race and their culture. It is a large part of who we are. We don’t care that you see our color. We just want you to respect it’.

  3. Source: http://www.theroot.com/notracists-be-like-the-top-10-phrases-used-by-peop-1819142064

 

 

Banning pregnant girls from school is against the laws of Tanzania

by Dinah Musindarwezo

When girls are denied the opportunity to education, it limits their chances to access other opportunities including decent employment, leadership and information and to make informed choices. Girls who drop out of school are also likely to end up in child marriages.

 

Only a few days after celebration of the Day of the Africa Child, the President of the Republic of Tanzania, Magufuli John victimises teen mothers by swearing that during his presidency no teen mothers or young mothers will be allowed to go back to school. Hearing the President’s remarks is disheartening and a disregard of the hard fought gains on women’s and girls’ rights, gender equality and empowerment, including the work done by African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET)’s members in Tanzania.

The women’s movement across Africa and globally have fought hard to guarantee girls the right to quality education. In Beijing’s International Conference on women, 21 years ago, African women championed the rights of the girl child and as a result, one of the 12 Beijing Areas of Action focused on the girl child.

In addition to Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the right to education as a basic right is enshrined in several international and regional conventions and protocols, including the Convention on Ending Discrimination Against Women  (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the African Protocol on the Rights of the Child, Protocol of the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol) and Goal 4 of new international development framework – 2030 Agenda/Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) all focus on inclusive and equitable education for all.

All these conventions and protocols focus on the right of boys and girls to access quality and equitable education and put obligations on states that have ratified them to protect, fulfil and uphold this human right.

A particular focus is put on girls’ education due to their vulnerabilities as a result of structural and systematic gender inequalities. Unwanted and early pregnancies are a manifestation of such inequalities and an indication of girls’ vulnerabilities where often the blame is always put on pregnant girls rather than on those who made them pregnant or failed to put mechanisms in place to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Tanzania is a party to the above conventions and protocols and to some extent the government has taken steps towards implementing them.  For example the country has an Education Act, Law of Child Act, both aimed to protect and safeguard the rights of each child including protecting them from discrimination and providing the right to services.

President Magufuli’s remarks indicating his intention to stop girls from going to school is a contradiction to laws and policies of his own country and his government’s failure to fulfil its obligation to protect and safeguard the rights of its citizens, especially the rights of its vulnerable citizens. As  Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Laureate and winner of the Sakharov Prize says, “The true measure of the justice of a system is the amount of protection it guarantees to the weakest”.

Magufuli’s contradictions are further exposed by the Government of Tanzania’s Guidelines on how to enable Pregnant School Girls return to school and resume their duties, adopted in 2016. These guidelines affirm the government’s commitment to reduce the high school drop outs caused by various factors including pregnancies among school girls.  4.4 percent of girls enrolled in both primary and secondary schools dropped out due to pregnancy according to Basic Education Statistics in Tanzania (BEST) in 2014.

While Magufuli takes away the right of teen mothers to choose the type of education they want when he says in his address that teen mothers should go to vocational trainings, sewing or go farm, the Tanzania Guidelines on how to enable pregnant school girls return to school and resume their duties clearly state that its goal is to provide an enabling environment for all pregnant girls to resume schooling after delivery.

Magufuli’s remark to push girls into sewing and farming is to push girls into child labour and reinforces gender stereotypes of gender roles leading to gender segregated jobs. This goes against African Union’s efforts of increasing the number of girls in Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) following recognition of low numbers of girls and women in these fields.

When he took up the presidency, President Magufuli was adamant on fighting corruption to ensure equitable development. This almost made me, and many others people, raise him to the pinnacle of favourable African leaders until his homophobic and sexist remarks started.  What he should know is that it’s impossible to achieve development without achieving gender equality as various researches have shown.  When girls are denied the opportunity to education, it limits their chances to access other opportunities including decent employment, leadership and information and to make informed choices. Girls who drop out of schools are also likely to end up in child marriages.

Africa’s women and girls are extremely irked by president Magufuli’s utterances. He was “the president to watch” for mostly the right reasons until now. As the continent galvanises towards frowning at his leadership intentions, President Magufuli can do the following to redeem himself from this recent retrogressive outburst:

  • Retract his remarks and immediately apologise to Tanzanian women and girls
  • Provide child care facilities for all teen mothers to allow them to go back to school without worrying about who will take care of their babies
  • Address stigma and discrimination towards teen mothers in schools, homes, community
  • Educate himself on the rights of girls and women and his obligation as Head of the State to fulfil them
  • Ensure provision of comprehensive sexuality education as a preventive measure
  • Provide youth friendly reproductive and sexual health services
  • Hold those who make girls pregnant accountable
  • Implement national, regional and international  policies, laws and Conventions/protocols on girls education, gender equality and women’s rights
  • Allocate adequate national budget towards addressing gender inequalities.

We at FEMNET in collaboration with our members in Tanzania and across the continent are committed to supporting President Magufuli and his government to achieve the above.

DINAH MUSINDARWEZO is the Executive Director of the African Women’s Development & Communications Network (FEMNET).     http://www.femnet.co

This article has appeared in the East African and Pambazuka News

Herstory: Soweto uprising and the erasure of Black women

See Thando Sipuye’s brilliant piece celebrating the role of young women in the 1976 Soweto uprising in South Africa and de-crying the erasure of women’s role in the struggle.  He defines this as being consistent with the Euro-patriarchal elitist approach to writing of history and the ideology of male superiority to women dating back to Aristotle.  Read the piece here     The article was originally published in http://www.pambazuka.org