In Kenya, many efforts are being made to protect people’s basic human rights. Yet inequalities exist, especially for women and girls. The entrenched patriarchal social structures ensure that men retain power and control the vast majority of resources ranging from the family to the governmental level. Women’s participation at every level of decision making across both political and economic spheres has been limited and whilst the number of women elected government officials is rising, the actual percentage of women in decision making positions is extremely low compared to men.
Women and girls living with a disability, widows, single mothers, unmarried women, members of the LGBTI community, and women who are from families affected by HIV/AIDS face additional challenges due to multiple layers of discrimination, thereby limiting their participation in community life.
The ultimate goal of the Advancing Equality project is to increase the empowerment of women and girls to advance gender equality. In Kenya, reaching this goal implies increasing women’s participation in local decision-making structures. Fostering women’s leadership enables them to bring forward issues that directly impact their lives and allows an opportunity to make meaningful changes within their communities. The anticipated results include:
- Strengthened leadership for women and men to mobilize their communities
- Enhanced collaboration among women’s and human rights groups
- Improved efforts of women’s organizations to engage with decision-makers
The situation for some women and girls still remains bleak on the social, political and economic fronts.
- 45% of women face intimate partner violence. Women who engage in economic and political activities are often at higher risk of becoming a target of violent acts.
- 9% of elected government seats are held by women despite the 2/3 gender rule.
- 1% of land is owned by women, yet 89% of farmers are women which restricts their ability to improve their economic situation and to engage on the political sphere.
The Project adopts a participatory approach to advance gender equality that includes:
Knowledge and capacity-building
- Training for community leaders on human-rights based approaches and gender equality
- Community forums and coaching
- Joint awareness raising activities
- Community actions that advance gender equality
Engagement with decision-makers
- Training for women’s and human rights organizations
- Policy dialogues
- Action plans