First things first, I hope you had a purposeful International Women’s Day! It is yet another year to recognize the milestones that women and girls have made in the different environments they are in. The theme for this year, according to the United Nations is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. Meaning, the day is meant to be used to highlight the role of technology and innovation in fostering gender equality among us.
Informing this, are some statistics by the United Nations that, ‘259 million fewer women have access to the internet than men, and women are largely underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers)’. So, the goal is to involve more women for equal representation.
With that said, Eldoret Leo took the liberty to hear from different women and men on the different initiatives that have helped women and their expectations in honoring women’s day.
Women for International Women’s Day
Doris Serem, for one; a geospatial engineer, and a lady in STEM, challenges women to ‘dare enough.’
“As a woman in the geospatial field, I think the presence with respect to 5 years ago has changed you know. Now there are more women in this field. Yes, there are opportunities for women but not all of us can access the opportunities yet. There are still women and girls that cannot access education; communities that are still against women leaders. I think as a woman you have to dare enough and be more aggressive to get these opportunities especially career-wise, which shouldn’t be the case.”
Doris went on to describe her ideal work environment as one that has a supportive and inclusive culture. This is where it values equity, diversity, and inclusion. In addition, one with opportunities for professional development. Moreover, she emphasized on an environment that prioritizes work-life balance and flexible scheduling to accommodate personal needs or responsibilities.
Closely to Doris’s sentiments, is Serena Ndekeremo. Serena pointed out our current state of ‘equality’ in an analogy of a poem she read before:
“ In as much as we may not be living our desired dream, we are living someone else’s dream. There was a time that women wanted so much to be in school, in careers, in offices but they could not. But thanks to them and their push for it, we are on those classrooms and offices today. And so is our duty to the next generation.”
From a man’s perspective
In line with this year’s theme, William Sakawa, a champion for equality and women’s rights pointed out the ‘misogyny’ that content creators like former radio presenter Andrew Kibe who takes advantage of social media using it to make women feel like the problem in the society. And that is one downside to digital media as a contributor to technology.
Wiliam sees days like International Women’s day as extremely important in society.
“Not until we are at 50/50, then we can’t claim to be living in a balanced society yet. As someone said, women hold up the other half of society. So it just makes it right.”
One concern of his, however, is the opportunities not cutting across to all women.
“The empowerment is happening, but to an extent. What about those women that remain trekking kilometers to access water?, what about girls who quit school due to drought or got married early because of poverty? Yet every single part of Kenya has women leaders such as women representatives.”
Sakawa’s ideal ‘equal’ society is one with a system that empowers as many women, as possible to a point where the patriarchal society is no longer a threat.
With that said, each and every one of us should feel challenged in advancing the theme in a positive direction. It is such small initiatives that culminate into progress.
#EmbraceEquity this International Women’s day