Gender equality will be achieved by women fighting for their rights

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The decision by the Court of Appeal to uphold the dissolution of Parliament for not attaining the two-thirds gender rule exposed the unwillingness by various stakeholders to do it; therefore, women must fight for their rights in order to attain equality.

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed,” so said Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. This saying should drive women to fight for their rights.

The countries that are outstanding in matters of gender equality did not achieve that lofty status just by constitutional means, but by the women rising up to achieve it through women’s organisations and gender equality lobbies.

The global gender gap stood at 68 per cent last year, an improvement from 2017, but must be narrowed.

With 90 per cent gender equality according to the World Economic Forum, Iceland tops the globe in wage, professional and technical equality.

A strike by Icelandic women over a dysfunctional society bore fruit after five years when the United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day in the International Women’s Year, 1975.

In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

Kenyan women should learn from the likes of Mrs Charity Ngilu and Dr Joyce Laboso, who won political seats by fighting against male competition in the last general election.

Prof Wangari Maathai’s story is inspirational, as she withstood state oppression and victimisation while protecting Karura Forest, for which she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Women have for a long time been seated, waiting to be handed positions, which has left them always disappointed.

In 2012, Parliament was given an ultimatum by the Supreme Court to achieve gender equality in elective and appointive positions by August 27, 2015, which went unfulfilled.

An advisory by the President and the Opposition leader to have the gender rule achieved has not been taken into account either.

A petition to the Chief Justice last year to dissolve Parliament was dismissed by the Appellate Court following an appeal by Speakers of the National Assembly and the Senate.

Efforts to attain equality in Parliament have turned fruitless since, on most occasions, women are quiet when the gender rule is being debated and the quorum is often lacking.

Men, too, have been silent over the attainment of gender equality. They should understand that women are our mothers, sisters and daughters, hence there is need to protect their rights.

Failure by Parliament to implement the gender rule is a wake-up call to women that the key to equality is in their hands.

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