10 Learnings From Season One of Your Voice Matters

Equality now, Better for Kenya and Capital FM Kenya, in a series of ten episodes take us back twenty-six years to the Beijing conference, a turning point for women across the globe determined to ensure full implementation of human rights for women and the girl child.

1. Sexism in the Kenya media industry

In this series, Janet Mbugua moderates conversations with different personalities and industry leaders to discuss gender based issues.

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Amina Abdi, Pinky Ghelani, Judy Gitau and Janet Mbugua pay tribute to the women who gathered at the first Beijing conference in 1995, determined to advance the goals of equality and it is through them that the status of women has advanced in various respects in the last two and half decades. The panel also discusses injustices they have experienced in the media industry.

Key learnings in this episode:

  • Importance of using your influence in your social circles to start conversations and point out injustices done to you and others.
  • Demystify women’s rights from being a competition and move the law from just being the law, to reality. Where women do not struggle to access justice.

2. GBV in the community

Shix Kapienga and Ciiku Wa Soxxy share their first encounters with gender based violence, addressing disagreements in relationships and their involvement in the community in regards to gender issues.

Key learnings in this episode:

  • Share your story and share your truth without shame.
  • The law and enforcers of the law must provide a safe environment that protects the victim and punishes the perpetrator.
  • Do not brush off cases or incidences of gender based violence that you witness in your community. Be your neighbour’s keeper.
  • The urgent need for the government to prioritise gender based issues and establish shelters that victims can go to when they experience any kind of violation.

3. The culture of silence

Kate Actress, Valentine Njoroge and Janet Mbugua discuss the culture of silence, their personal experiences and instances where speaking has come with serious consequences.

Key learnings in this episode:

  • Speak out, for yourself and on behalf of others even if it comes with consequences.
  • Empower women economically to give them power to remove and isolate themselves from violent situations.
  • The need for government shelters that can be safe spaces for women to escape violent homes.
  • Listen, believe and accept a woman’s word when she says she’s going through gender based violence.

4. 26 years after the Beijing Conference

Grace Kirapa, Hon. Adelina Mwau, Felister Gitonga and June Gachui discuss what gender equality means to them. Hon. Adelina Mwau who attended the Beijing conference highlights the powerful moment women from across the globe came together in one voice; a moment that would be a new beginning for women.

Key learnings in this episode:

  • Break down gender stereotypes by leading my example, proving that you can be in any industry without gender being a matter in question.
  • Inviting men to join conversations on gender based issues.
  • Talk openly about abuse and violence that affects both men and women.
  • Importance of using your platform, no matter how small, to inspire and educate younger generations.

5. Sexual harassment in campus

Abel Mutua, Foi Wambui and Janet Mbugua discuss sexual harassment in campus and experiences that students go through to get through school.

Key learnings in this episode:

  • The urgent need for institutions to create administrative spaces where students can report incidences of sexual harassment and gender based violence.
  • Institutions (schools) are regulated by the law not culture and cases of sexual harassment must be dealt with within the legal framework.
  • Speak out when you are coerced or violated because you are backed by the law.

6. Sexual harassment at the workplace

Maureen Waititu, Joanne Kuria, Jean-Paul Murunga and June Gachui discuss sexual and gender based violence at the workplace and their personal experiences.

Key learnings in this episode:

  • Speak out immediately you feel coerced and intimidated sexually in the work place.
  • Educate ourselves on the legal steps to take in the event of sexual harassment or gender based violence.

7. Gender Equality through the eyes of young Kenyan women

Grace Njeri, Wanjiru Njiru and Caroline Lagat discuss what it’s like being a young woman in Kenya today and experiences of gender inequality that they have encountered.

Key learnings in this episode:

  • We live in a social media generation and we must use our platforms to speak up on issues of gender equality.
  • Be part of the solution – creating safe spaces that mobilize and encourage people to speak out.
  • Importance of teaching children to understand what consent means and how to respect that.

8. Equality and women economic empowerment

David Muriithi, Carol Ajema, Nina Masore and Janet Mbugua discuss the link between sexual violence and women’s economic empowerment.

Key learnings in this episode:

  • The urgent need for government to establish survivor centres that support victims of gender based violence.
  • The pressing need to provide psychosocial support to victims of gender based violence.
  • Inviting men to join conversations on women’s economic empowerment and the benefits that has on the family.
  • Proper rollout of the funds allocated by the government to gender based violence victims. Ensuring that the distribution is survivor centred and responds to immediate gaps.

9. Cyber bullying and SGBV

Kalekye Mumo, Marcus Olang’, Makandi Gitonga of Equality Now and Janet Mbugua discuss cyber bullying – a new frontier of sexual gender-based violence and the effect that has had on their lives.

Key learnings in this episode:

  • Key policies should be put in place to regulate cyber bullying.
  • Importance of using your influence in your social circles to start conversations and point out bullying done to you and others.
  • Explore tools and resources on the social media platforms that help you manage cyber bullying.

10. SGBV in the family setting

Nyce Njeri, Mariga Thoithi, Mary Makokha, Jean Paul Murunga of Equality Now and Janet Mbugua discuss sexual and gender-based violence within the family.

Key learnings in this episode:

  • Gender based violence is not a private issue even when it takes place within the family setting, it is a public issues that must be addressed and spoken up about.
  • Do not silence children; listen and believe them when they raise issues of sexual abuse or defilement.
  • Do not invalidate victims of any kind of violence because that perpetuates the cycle.
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