Kenyans Thursday join the rest of the world in celebrating the International Women’s Day. The day is celebrated annually on March 8.
Organizers of this year’s International Women’s Day whose theme is Press for Progress hope to ride on the wave of activism and a push for gender parity worldwide.
The International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day is also a call to action through events large and small focusing on equality.
Messages celebrating women leaders in the country were shared on Twitter. The Council of Governors and some Kenyans celebrated the three elected Women Governors Charity Ngilu of Kitui, Joyce Laboso of Bomet and Ann Waiguru of Kirinyaga as well as the 11 Women Deputy governors.
Meanwhile, at an event to mark this year’s International Womens’ Day, the Samburu community has been urged allocate more resources towards educating girls to raise the literacy levels of the region and more women leaders in future. Women leaders spoke at the Maralal GK Prison when they visited inmates.
Led by nominated MCA Roseline Lesaibile, the women paid a visit to women serving jail terms at the Maralal Prison. Lesaibile appealed to all Samburu women either in correctional facilities or at home to focus on improving their lives.
She further advised Samburu community to educate their girls and stop retrogressive cultures such as Female Genital Mutilation and early marriages.
Meanwhile, Nestlé Kenya has joined thousands other companies from across the globe in signing the UN Women Empowerment Principles as the company commemorated the 2018 International Women’s Day to raise awareness on the importance of gender equality at work.
In a joint ceremony in partnership with UN Women Kenya, Nestlé Equatorial Africa Region Head, Cornel Krummenacher made public the company’s commitment to women empowerment by signing the WEPs CEO statement, joining more than 40 companies that have signed the same in Kenya.
Speaking during the ceremony, East Africa Cluster Managing Director, Ms. Miring’u said, “We believe Women Make Africa Stronger. That is why we nourish and empower the greatness in every woman. We believe that investing in the woman is not just the right thing to do to ensure the future of the continent, but it also makes business sense for us to do so. She is the one who works in the fields to ensure our raw materials are delivered to us adhering to the highest standards. She works in our offices and in our operations. She is an integral part of our distribution networks, making a living for her family while selling our nutritious range of products. And finally, she is the mother, the gatekeeper of her family, making dietary choices every day to provide the best nourishment and the best future for them.”
Apart from women making up 40 percent of its work force in Nairobi, Nestlé has embraced numerous other efforts in support of women empowerment at work and in various the communities it works. These efforts include ensuring the participation of women in coffee farming and in leadership of Farmers’ Cooperative Societies through the Nescafé Plan programme.
“We have trained more than 6,000 women farmers on how to become entrepreneurs in coffee farming and this year we are training 6,000 more,” said Ms. Mirung’u.
Nestlé also offers one of the most generous maternity and paternity leaves for both male and female primary care givers.
“For female employees, we give them a minimum of 14 weeks paid maternity leave and the right to extend their maternity leave up to six months. In addition, we have fully equipped and modern lactation rooms to support breastfeeding at work,” Ms. Miring’u added.
Launched on International Women’s Day in March 2010, the Women’s Empowerment Principles are a set of Principles for business offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Subtitled Equality Means Business, the Principles emphasize the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment and are informed by real-life business practices and input gathered from across the globe.
“By signing these principles, Nestlé Equatorial Africa and Nestlé Kenya strengthen their strong commitment to the advancement of women and gender balance as they join 40 other CEOs who have signed the WEPs statement,” said Zebib Kavuma, UN Women Country Director.
Ms. Kavuma called on other Kenyan companies to walk the talk on gender equality observing that studies still shows a glaring 24 percent gap in the pay between men and women for equal work. “The seven Women Empowerment Principles requires ownership and accountability on the side of the signatories as well as general goodwill and commitment towards the propelling of gender equality in the workplace,” she said.