Gender Equity

Kenya’s rough ride to gender equity

Among the many cold wars that erupt every day is one of one gender against the other, with each trying to outdo the other gender. People have even forgotten that it’s not a competition rather than a call for everyone to join hands and fight the enemy who is inequality and gender disparity. Every gender has been gifted differently. For a long while the female gender had been forgotten and treated as an inferior race compared to their male counterparts and this could be seen by how many girls sat for their exams, how many women were in high positions in various institutions and how traditionally the women were believed to belong to the kitchen. Then came girls and women empowerment that has seen various changes in the society with girls given a right to inherit property and working in industries that we’re once termed as ‘a man’s occupation’. This even led to the 2/3 gender rule that enabled women to be elected to parliament as women representatives and nominees for various key positions.

This action did not fail to bore a reaction from men and a few women who felt the whole women empowerment was a joyride and was meant to frustrate men. Men started speaking out of how Gender based violence against men and women was treated differently. That as men when they spoke out they were ridiculed and only few people would believe them since a man is deemed to be strong and a leader so it’s ironic that he can be abused by a woman who is deemed of an inferior and weak gender. Speaking to Felix who is a student, he told me of how parents assume male students should cater for themselves while their sisters are given enough pocket money to last them for more than a semester since they are believed to face more challenges than their brothers. He further went on to lament of how everyone recently is focused with mentoring the girl child and assuming that the boy child and men lack weak spots and can withstand even mental and emotional torture. As much as girls and women start from slightly lower levels than men it’s time men are also treated as human beings with their own flaws and weakness.

Cases of defilement and femicide among others portray men as misogynistic and ruthless beings who are always concerned with sex, alcohol, spending evenings taking alcohol and to be on the safer side of society they have to be two steps ahead of the highly empowered women by being rich, successful and responsible fathers who always show up for school functions. Some of men’s efforts are in vain and are rarely acknowledged due to the notion that men are always ahead and whatever they achieved was normal and so no need to congratulate them. Even the good and responsible men are judged from a few men who broke the law or treated a woman unfairly. They are being forced to accept they are terrible people and end up shutting off or seeing gender equality as a fight against them and women as competition.

We should agree that not all men are misogynistic and that some women are ruthless too. Whenever there is a child custody in case the woman is granted custody until the children are of age to decide for themselves. What if the woman is emotionally torturing the man? What if the mother is the one who is unavailable to the child? Will we still be blinded by the need to give the mother the upper hand or should we face the reality and treat them equally? After all is said and done both genders play critical roles in the society. The society is not to be ignorant of any of the gender. As we are busy pushing the women forward lets ensure we are moving along with men too. With both men and women in key leadership positions we can clap for ourselves for the far we have come thought it was not an easy journey but we are yet to achieve the gender equity goals that are in place to ensure there are no more wars between the two genders. We should wear our seat belts and hope the road does not get rougher.

About author

Caroline Boyani is a 20 year third year student in bachelor of Journalism and communication at The Technical University of Mombasa. She's passionate about telling human interest stories that cut across gender and democracy. She endeavours to be a multimedia investigative journalist with special interest in print media.
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