‘Any society that fails to harness the energy and creativity is at a huge disadvantage in the modern world’
_ Tian Wei
“Happy International Women’s Day!” We all shared special messages to the amazing women in our lives to celebrate this day, but do we truly understand why we celebrate International Women’s Day?
It begun as the National Women’s Day in the United States back in February 1909. The following year, at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Denmark, women’s rights activist Clara Zetkin called for an international women’s day to give women a greater voice to further their demands for equal rights.
In complete accord it was approved by the female attendees from 17 countries. International Women’s Day was marked for the first time in March 1911 - and the date was fixed as 8 March 1913. The United Nations celebrated it for the first time in 1975.
Since time immemorial, women have been considered and treated as the weaker sex. Even from the basic unit of family, a woman is not expected to lead but to follow. Her voice is made to be small and is shamed if she is to express her two cents or opinions on various issues. This is prominent especially when it comes to matters education, career progression and heading positions of influence. Up to date, society still struggles with women who have managed to break the bias and emerged strong and successful outside the ‘stipulated’ roles.
Therefore, as the Federation of Kenya Employers joined the world in marking this day and celebrated the amazing women at the Federation. ‘Breaking the biases was theme for this year’s International Women's' Day (IWD)2022.
Ms. Jacqueline Mugo, having risen up the ranks in her career over the years, against all odds, understands the various challenges women face, especially in the realm of work. She noted that it is quite sad to see that despite a woman having more qualifications or experience, a man will almost always be considered first in many places of work.
“Without the courage of the strong sisters that came before us, we would not be enjoying the rights that we do now as women today. Having such conversations a few decades ago was considered taboo in an African set up, as women were simply considered as ‘beasts of burden’. We ought to continue with this agenda for our daughters to find a better world, conducive for a woman to reach and become her optimum best.” said Ms. Jacqueline Mugo.
Some of the challenges women face at the workplace include unequal pay, sexual harassment, women are promoted less often than men and many more challenges that hinder career growth and stunted career development. Organizational regulations and policy making forums should have women representation in the process to ensure women are given the needed support for their growth.
The Federation of Kenya Employers in partnership with NHO, has various programs to support girls and women, ensuring they are empowered and get to be of great value in society. These include the Girls & Technology Program, Adopt-a-School, and the Female Future Training programs. FKE strives to touch the lives of girls and women for a better tomorrow.
Have we evolved on matters inclusivity and breaking the bias? Yes
Is there room for further improvement? Absolutely.
Thus, let us keep up the good fight, both men and women. Remember as a woman, you are capable, you are strong, and you are a force to be reckoned.
Happy International Women’s Day!