Waiguru challenges aspiring women leaders to fight for their space

Kirinyaga County Governor Anne Waiguru has asked aspiring women leaders to fight for their space and not shy away from dreaming to achieve their leadership goals.

She said that women must believe that they have what it takes to bring tangible change in areas that affect them since they understand better the unique interests of women and girls.

Waiguru who was addressing participants of the Women Leadership Academy forum at Safari Park Hotel on Wednesday said that the subject of gender equality can no longer be a footnote and all women must commit to be significant contributors towards a more equitable and inclusive Kenya.

She noted that will not be easy for women because they will have to deal with a lot of negative publicity by political opponents who still hold on to the notion that a woman ought not rise too fast in leadership, but still they must soldier on.

“As those before them, upcoming women leaders will have to deal with a lot of falsehoods peddled about them with the aim of diverting their attention to mundane issues and discredit them as capable leaders.  Those are hurdles that we will together jump until we win the race.” Said the governor.

She said that even though there has been quite some progress towards achieving gender parity, much more still needs to be done to have more women elected into political offices.  She noted that as it is currently, a woman has still got to put in much more effort in convincing the electorate to elect her than her male counterparts.

She said that the forum, which was organized by the Federation of Women Lawyers-FIDA Kenya among other partners, was very timely since it has come at a time when the country is gearing towards the 2022 general elections.

She advised that women must come together to support each other up the political leadership ladder, citing that she has been at the forefront in fighting for the inclusion of women at all levels of decision making because she believes that a society cannot leave behind more than half of its population and attain an equitable socio-economic and political development.

She noted that we live in a society where women are still judged by their gender more than the leadership or governance skills that they possess or have demonstrated.

“I was elected in a highly contested gubernatorial election, becoming one of the only three women to have ever been elected as governors in Kenya. Later I was elected as the Vice-Chair of the Council of Governors, also becoming the first woman to ever hold the position. The two positions were not easily achieved as I had to work twice as hard as a man would be required to work to get there”, Waiguru told the participants.

She pledged to use any available opportunity to encourage and mentor aspiring women leaders with the hope that come the next general election Kenya will attain higher women representation in various positions than before.

She also noted that the media plays an important role in shaping the women’s leadership narrative and must help in dismantling the deep-rooted attitudes that only men can occupy certain positions.

“Besides giving women a platform to express themselves and sell their visions with the electorate, the media is called upon to observe fair reporting and avoid judging women on a higher pedestal than men”, the governor noted.

  

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