Each year around the world, the March 8th marks an important day not just for the women but for the whole society. March 8th is the International Women’s Day (IWD). March is set aside to mark the achievements of women around the world. Organizations, governments and women’s groups take part by choosing different themes each year that reflect global and local gender issues. It is completely up to each country and group as to what appropriate theme they select.
Today I spent my International Women’s Day working really hard and taking time to reflect on different issues that I consider important to me as a woman.
I reflected a lot on the UN’s theme of Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women. It reminds me of a very lively discussion I had sometime back about involvement of women in development and the use of Master Suppression Techniques as identified by Professor Berit Ås, Norway. It is a technique used by people higher up in hierarchies to keep others, particularly women, in inferior positions.
As a communication and public relations practitioner working in environmental sanitation, I find a lot of promising opportunities to empower women. For example, echoing the conclusion of the sanitation actors’ gender training workshop organized by SEI in Stockholm, in sanitation projects, women can be encouraged to take leadership roles and play a greater part in decision-making. However, many needed changes in norms and attitudes may be more effectively addressed through activities beyond sanitation sector interventions, including income-generation activities and training to enhance independence and self-esteem.
Equal access to education, training and science and technology is indeed a pathway to decent work.
I have been going around the country mapping Civil Society Organizations work in urban development in Kenya and I see all these opportunities in all the sectors and I am particularly encouraged by the women who have dared to empower their communities and create a new generation of all-rounder-women.
It is not the strength but the will to do more; to be a better in their workplaces, in their homes and in their societies.