, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 – The Jubilee administration has placed women at the centre of national development more than any other government has done in the country’s history, President Uhuru Kenyatta said.
Speaking at Kenyatta International Conference Centre during the International Women’s day celebrations, the President said women are at the very core of his government’s operations. The theme of the day is inspiring change.
He said although the minimum one-third Constitutional requirement on women representation in Parliament is yet to be met, their representation in the 11th Parliament stands at 24.64 percent compared to the paltry 9.9 percent in the 10th Parliament.
“This is the largest proportion of women in Parliament in the history of Kenya,” the President said.
He said deliberate efforts have been made to improve women’s welfare, citing the provision of free maternity in all public health facilities as the first action by his administration in support of women.
“Already, 66 percent of deliveries are in these centers, up from 44 percent, and we expect the number to rise,” he said.
Regarding support to enterprises for women and youths, the President said the Government launched the Sh6 Billion Uwezo Fund and its disbursement will start soon following approval of its legal framework by Parliament.
He said the 30 percent Affirmative Action policy for women, youths and persons with disabilities in public procurement has also been introduced to benefit that important segment of the Kenyan population.
“A recent survey undertaken by the Ministry of Devolution and Planning to assess this provision indicated that Government Ministries and agencies were actively implementing the policy,” he said.
To accelerate the abandonment of harmful cultural practices, the President said the Government established the Anti-FGM Board, which is now operational.
The President congratulated First Lady Margaret Kenyatta for playing a leading role in advocating for the rights of women and young people.
He said the First Lady’s running in a marathon tomorrow –the first by a First Lady anywhere on the globe– was a sterling example of her support for the welfare of women.
“She is doing it as part of her Beyond Zero campaign whose goal is to improve maternal health care, and to buy mobile clinics to ensure that many of our people have access to important health facilities,” the President said.
The President said Kenyan women have made major strides in the last fifty years in their quest to achieve gender parity and empowerment.
The President said many challenges remain but the women of Kenya have a lot to celebrate.
He said there is almost near gender parity on enrolment in the primary school level and much has been covered at the secondary school level saying his Government will not waver in its commitment to empowering women and youths in line with the pledges it made to Kenyans.
He said his Government is committed to ensuring that the Constitutional requirement on women’s representation in assemblies and appointments to public positions is adhered to.
The President pointed out that the composition of the Jubilee Cabinet already meets the Constitutionally-mandated 33.3 percent mark, with women leading the powerful Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Lands and Devolution.
“Let me make it plainly clear, women are at the very core of my Government’s operations, in a way that no previous administration in our country’s history has ever managed. This is a transformative Government,” the President said.