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Delivering the Womens Agenda; Beyond the Written

Your Excellencys Ambassadors and High Commissioners,

Honorable Members of Parliament present,
County Executive Officers,
The UN fraternity,
Representatives of the various Organizations present,
Facilitators and Resource Persons,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be with you here today, and to preside over
the launch the National Action Plan of the Kenya National Womens
Charter. I wish to commend the Mwamko Mpya Uongozi Bora

Initiative and each of its constituent organizations for bringing together






development partners as well as women leaders and aspiring leaders to


this National Womens Conference which has been convened under the
theme Delivering the Womens Agenda: Beyond the Written.
I note that the National Action Plan has been developed within the context
of Kenyas present socio-economic, cultural, political and environmental
situation and with the aspirations of Kenyas women in mind.
I applaud the consultative process that informed the National Charter and
note the complementary role it plays to the Governments Vision 2030, the
Second Mid Term Plan and the Governments agenda of gender equality
and womens empowerment. As the Ministry responsible for Gender, the
Ministry of Devolution and Planning is pleased to work in collaboration with
partners committed to the Governments existing policies and initiatives in
the promotion of gender equality and womens empowerment. As such, we
welcome and applaud the hard work of all the organizations which is
reflected in this Charter.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is also clear that the National Action Plan speaks to the Post 2015
Development Agenda on gender equality and the empowerment of women
and is aligned to Kenyas existing commitments in international law
including International treaties, declarations and conventions that articulate
the rights of women and girls such as the United Nations Declaration on

Human Rights, Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination

Against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Maputo Womens

Protocol, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the
African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Experience has taught us that democratic ideals of inclusiveness,
accountability, and transparency cannot be achieved without laws and
policies that address inequalities. This includes the existing disparities on
gender equality. It is therefore paramount that we weave these ideals into
the social, political and economic fabric of our society, such that beyond
the legal framework girls and women are able to realize all their aspirations
without limitations due to gender. Our goal as a Government is not merely
to have a progressive legal and policy framework but to have a country
where the laws support the practical realization of empowerment and
equality for women and girls. To do this we need everyone to uphold the
laws and the values of the Constitution. CSO, County and National
government and men and women, we all need to work together to support
inclusion and gender equality. Together we can ensure a country where
girls have more choices than ever before in our history, so that their
dreams, from being an engineer to being President are attainable.
As you may be aware, this year marks two decades since the Beijing
Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted by world leaders. The
leaders committed to ensuring the development of policies and legislative
frameworks aimed at promoting the rights of women and girls across the
member states, equal participation of women in leadership, governance
and decision making.

Ladies and Gentlemen

As a country that was privileged to host the third World Conference on
Women in 1985, and as we look back, 20 years since the adoption of the
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, in 1995, we have much to be
proud of. Our Constitution recognizes gender equality and further endorses
the not more than 2/3rds principle which guarantees the representation of
women in elective and appointive positions in both levels of Government.
Our Constitution further permits affirmative action to help realize gender
equality. Today, women in parliament form 25 percent of elected
representatives up from 9.9 percent in 2007. In the public service, out of
the 18 Ministerial portfolios, women comprise 33.3 percent of cabinet
appointees. We have made significant strides in the political representation
of women but more still needs to be done. We need to continue expanding
the space for womens leadership and that requires nurturing young
women. If you are an MCA, aspire to run for MP for your constituency and
mentor a young woman to succeed you in the MCA role. Nominated MCAs
and MPs, work with constituents to support your election and that of other
women and run for elective office. We will not make it alone, we must
move forward together.
Ladies and Gentlemen
As a country, we have distinguished ourselves globally by implementing
transformative socio-economic programmes foremost among them the
Preference and Reservation Regulations which provide that at least 30% of
all public procurement is reserved for youth, women and persons with

disabilities. Other initiatives are designed to improve access to enterprise

capital include the Women Enterprise Fund, with the equivalent of USD 44
million dollars per annum exclusively for women, as well as the UWEZO
Fund, which is approximately USD 70 million dollars per annum for groups
of women and the youth and persons with disabilities.
These programmes which are fully funded by the Government clearly
demonstrate the commitment by the leadership of our nation to empower
Kenyan women. Empowering women will ensure they can contribute to the
socio-economic development of the country while simultaneously improving
their socio-economic status and that of their families. Research has shown
that when women have assets and increased income they spend more
money on their families: from nutrition, to health and education - women
invest in the family. For every one dollar a woman earns 80 cents is spent
on her family, men on the other hand invest only 30 cents for every dollar
they earn in the family. Women spend almost three times more on the
family than men. Putting more money in the hands of women means
healthier, better educated citizens. This has a significant positive impact on
national development. Women are a competitive advantage that we must
as a nation harness to accelerate realization of our national development
agenda. Empowering women is good governance and smart economics.
However, as we reflect on how far we have come, we also know that much
more remains to be done. Women are still not equal partners in practice.
The disproportionate dominance of women in unpaid work, particularly
care services and other inequalities that exist in socio-economic and

political spheres still need to be addressed to ensure women can

experience full equality.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Of great importance to the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, is
facilitating the implementation of relevant legislation, while ensuring
gender mainstreaming and collecting gender disaggregated data to track
progress and inform national policy. We are working hard, in collaboration
with partners, to find a formula for the realization of the 2/3rds gender rule
as the Supreme Court deadline of August 2015. We will also continue to
monitor and support the 2/3rds gender rule in appointive offices. We also
urge women to be vigilant in ensuring the 2/3rds gender rule is adhered to
in appointments from Land County Management Boards to Water Boards,
we need to be represented to ensure the needs of women and girls are
adddressd. Finally, I know many of you here are already public leaders but
we need to have more women in leadership especially younger women
(under 35) and I urge each of us to nurture and support a young woman
or two or three. We need to create the successors for our current roles and
thereby free ourselves up for bigger opportunities. Let us make it a
personal committment to expand the public space for women and make it
easier for women to participte more fully in public life.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion, I would like to re-affirm the Governments commitment to
the realization of gender equality and womens empowerment. As the

Ministry responsible for gender we shall continue to provide leadership in

gender equality and ensure as a nation and as women of the nation we
continue to move forward.
Let us capitalize and build on the synergies already established in making
Kenya a better place for our women and girls. Let us work together in
moving beyond the numbers to full access, inclusion and participation of
women and girls in all spheres. No one CSO, or initiative can do this alone,
we need everyone and I am committed to working with all organizations










I am sure you have heard the proverb If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If
you want to go far, walk together. Ladies and Gentlemen let us commit

to walk far. It is my sincere pleasure to launch this National Action Plan

and I wish you all fruitful deliberations.

Thank You, and God Bless You