, MOMBASA, Kenya, Jun 2 – First lady Lucy Kibaki has challenged women to be aggressive and seek top positions in the government.
Mrs Kibaki asked women on Tuesday to remain united and speak with one voice ahead of the 2012 General Election.
‘’Let the 2012 general election be a lesson to men as they are used to using women as a stepping ladder to top positions in the country," she said.
Speaking at a forum of Women Affairs Ministries from the Great Lakes region, she said: “I challenge women not to wait to be given top positions on a silver platter and instead they should aggressively fight for them."
President Mwai Kibaki’s administration declared a government policy of 30 percent affirmative action for women in the public sector, but the First Lady now says that “was not enough."
“Go for 50 percent equal share in the government since there is nothing that men can do which women can’t do in life.”
Mrs Kibaki said although the tenth Parliament has the largest number of women than ever before, there was need to have more of the fairer sex in the House.
“You know which button to touch and you get what you want from men,” she posed.
She called for women’s economic empowerment to eradicate gender violence saying economic dependency and insecurity were at the core of gender violence.
“The effect of domestic violence is often severe and is indeed the leading cause of injury and death among women worldwide,” Mrs Kibaki added.
“Key measures that must be taken to empower women include ensuring the girl child has access to education (and) addressing social-cultural norms that discriminate against women,” she said.
The four-day Great Lakes workshop is a follow up meeting on the call organized by Social and Human Sciences sector [SHS] in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2005 in order to explore how best to promote the rights of women living in post conflict zones.
The workshop has drawn participants from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Burundi, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Rwanda and Zambia.