Tuesday, 09 April 2024 04:54

TIME TO WALK THE TALK: WOMEN GOVERNORS CALL FOR INCREASED INVESTMENT IN WOMEN EMPOWERMENT AT CSW68

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Gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls are the key priority areas that took center stage as Governors joined other leaders, civil society organizations, academia and delegates from across the globe in New York for the 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68), held from 11th- 22nd March 2024.
The CSW68 accorded an opportunity for governments, including Kenya, to showcase and benchmark on the interventions undertaken and gains made in line with the event’s theme, “Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective”.
Speaking during a side event organized by the Permanent Mission of Mauritania in New York,
the Region of Nouakchott and United Cities and Local Governments on the Local and Regional governments Day, Council of Governors (CoG) Chair H.E Anne Waiguru noted that County Governments have invested heavily in programmes aimed at empowering women to ensure economic inclusion and gender equality.
“In this regard, devolved units have adopted a multifaceted approach and undertaken programmes cutting across various sectors. Some of the interventions by Counties include: mainstreaming gender into their development plans and budgets, establishment of economic empowerment funds and programs, increasing access to resources and financial assets, vocational training programs to enhance skills in key sectors women participate in and mentorship for entrepreneurship and leadership,” added Governor Waiguru.
Her Embu counterpart H.E Cecily Mbarire further gave insights and presented the Kenyan context on fostering women’s political participation for equitable and strong public institutions that enhance efficient and effective service delivery to the citizenry.
In line with the CSW68 theme, CoG hosted a side event themed ‘Leveraging Health Investments for Poverty Alleviation and Improved Maternal Outcomes’. The side event sought to showcase how the Kenyan Government has implemented strategies to address poverty among women and girls by strengthening health institutions for sustainable poverty alleviation. The event also aimed at exploring potential partnerships with other countries, donors, and partners who share the same vision.
The side event, which drew participants drawn from Africa, America, and Europe, brought on board panelists that included women Governors, representatives from the National and County Governments, UNICEF South Africa, MOMENTUM Safe Surgery in Family Planning and Obstetrics Project and Health Options Global among others.
“Healthy mothers actively engage in the workforce, and contribute more to the economy, their household security and stability. We must deliberately invest in maternal health and poverty alleviation for sustainable development. It is not just the humanitarian imperative but also a strategic investment in Kenya's socio-economic development,” noted H.E Gladys Wanga during the session.
Further, in partnership with Oxfam USA, the Council held the G7 strategy launch event in New York in a bid to mobilize resources for the implementation. This event was preceded by an official launch ceremony presided over by H.E President William Ruto in Nairobi on 7th March 2024. The G7 strategy aims to not only empower and support the seven female governors in demonstrating efficient and strategic governance within the devolved structures, but also facilitate their re-election and transition into other leadership positions and further, mentor other women leaders.
Key resolutions arising from the CSW68 include: Improving access to maternal healthcare for vulnerable populations by increasing health funding and bridging the gap in healthcare investment, especially to meet the Abuja summit target of allocating 15% of annual budgets to health; Need to promote initiatives that provide quality and equal employment opportunities for women, addressing disparities in earnings and ensuring women have access to higher-quality jobs; In order to provide equal opportunities to improve women's status in society, inclusive laws, policies, and strategies need to be put in place; It is crucial for governments to continue investing in and expanding publicly funded healthcare programs like Linda Mama to ensure continued improvement in maternal health outcomes; Adopt a standardized, cost-effective and consistent approach to measure and report maternal morbidity similar to the methods used in tracking maternal deaths; Need to strengthen Primary Healthcare Services in order to actualize Universal healthcare by motivating the healthcare workers.

 

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