Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Women should fight it out for posts

Women should fight it out for posts

Published on 01/02/2010

I beg to differ with the contents in the Harmonised Draft Constitution where it reserves 47 seats for women. This is belittling the strength of women.

A level playing field should be nurtured in our national politics. Women are not feeble. Men cannot beat women when it comes to finding common ground on national affairs.

It is high time women were given a chance to fight it out on equal footing with men and not wait to be rewarded on the basis of their gender.

The seats should be reserved for the disabled and special needs who do not necessarily have to be women.

If the clause of rewarding women with seats is entrenched in the Constitution, it will be an insult to women like Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai, ministers Charity Ngilu, Esther Murugi, Jebii Kilimo and former MPs Julia Ojiambo, Phoebe Asiyo and Grace Ogot. Others in the education sector include Kavetsa Adagala, Prof Maria Nzomo and Eddah Gachukia.

These are some of the women who fought it out to be where they are. They didn’t wait any form of affirmative action to excel in their respective fields, a demonstration that irrespective of one’s gender, you can be successful.

Good leaders

Voters want good leaders irrespective of their gender. Women are our, mothers, wives, sisters and daughters. We love them. The Country has always given them chances to exhaust their talents even in the current constitution making process.

In a patriarchal society like ours, women may encounter challenges due to male dominance but they also need to be more aggressive to realise their dreams.

The iron lady, Martha Karua has done it by rising to party leadership and is comfortably positioned to contest for the presidency.

Hillary Clinton fought hard in one of the hotly contested US elections. Although she lost, she was appointed by President Barrack Obama as Secretary of State, one of the most coveted cabinet positions in a US Government.

We should be a society that rewards people based on their hard work. Everyone irrespective of their gender, must be empowered to compete fairly in politics, education, government appointments, and in business.

That is why I will always be critical to affirmative action which curtails the cultivation of talent, ambition on women.

Why should 47 seats be reserved for women if we are prepared to cultivate meritocracy as a principle for tapping the top cream of our society, if we truly want to transform Kenya’s fragile social, political and economic institutions?

We must desist from comparing Kenya to Rwanda, which has the highest number of women MPs.

{Joseph, Nyaringo, USA}

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