International Women’s Day is a global day set aside to celebrate social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and call for gender equality. It was created in 1910 after Clara Zetkin, the social democratic party women’s office leader in Germany tabled a suggestion to have the day celebrated on March 19th. Later on in 1913, the date was transferred to 8th March. This year’s theme is #EachForEqual , drawn from the notion of collective individualism that states that individual actions, behaviors, mentality and conversations can have an impact on the society as a whole.
On this day, issues affecting women especially those revolving around gender parity are prioritized. Women all over the world face lots of gender based obstacles that men don’t face. On the economic front, women are more likely to get lower wages than their male counterparts for equal work. Equal pay has been an issue especially in male dominated industries like sports that needs to be resolved. In the political sphere, women face a lot of stereotypical obstacles that seek to diminish their ability to hold office. On the social side of things, we have gender based violence. Globally, cases of sexual assault on women are quite rampant.
MyDressMyChoice Protest, Nairobi 2014
Being a woman in the 21st century has become a daunting task. Security is at its lowest and gender based violence thrives especially due to negligence by the authorities to arrest the abusers. A while back, cases of women being stripped naked in public were rampant. The perpetrators used the excuse that the ladies stripped were scantily dressed, a silly argument since nothing can justify stripping someone in public or even raping them. This paved way for the #MyDressMyChoice movement whose aim was to state that every woman has the right to dress how they want to, when they want to and that their dressing shouldn’t be a basis for perverts to abuse them.
As a country we’ve made some strides when it comes to women empowerment in leadership, sports, entrepreneurship and entertainment. Ann Mvurya and Jenifer Mukami were selected as the first ever female University student Union presidents. Lionesses like Marini Naturals C.E.O Michelle Ntalami , Glasshouse PR MD Mary Njoki and Blankets & Wines C.E.O Muthoni Ndonga are roaring loud in business and entrepreneurship. The Blanket and wines C.E.O Muthoni Drama Queen also bagged a big one at the recently concluded Swiss Music Awards. MDQ brought the Best Act in French speaking Switzerland (Romandy) award home. A Kenyan queen ruling West Switzerland, talk about ambition!
MDQ at the Swiss Music Awards
In sports, female footballer Esse Akida joined Turkish giant Besiktas j.k in February 2020, a major win for Kenyan women in sports. Harambee starlets won the 2019 CECAFA championship, unbeaten in all their matches, the invincibles! The first lady Margaret Kenyatta has been at the forefront of the fight against FGM.
Esse Akida signs with Besiktas football club
As we mark international women’s day, it is only wise to know what the day aims to achieve and how far we’ve come in trying to even the playground for both genders. This is also a day to celebrate those strong women in our lives who have held us down for the longest time. Thank God fi di gal dem! Happy International Women’s Day!