, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 -US President Barack Obama has called on Kenyans abandon retrogressive cultural practices that continue to down grade the dignity and rights of women.
Speaking during a public lecture at the Safaricom Arena, Kasarani, Obama passionately emphasised that some of these traditions like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) have made women to be treated as second class citizens.
He added that the issue of women’s rights should be a key nation’s agenda by ensuring equality in all opportunities.
“Just because something is a tradition does not make it right. Around the world there is a tradition of oppressing women and treating them differently. And not giving them the same opportunity, husband beating their wives and children not being sent to school. Those are traditions of treating women as second class citizens, are bad traditions,” Obama said amid cheers.
The father of two daughters maintained that education of the girl child should be embraced to ensure the prosperity of women adding that Kenya cannot grow if women are still marginalised.
He says for a successful nation which includes economic growth, it must advocate for women to get equal opportunities that will help raise their confidence.
“Any nation that fails to educate its girls or employ its women, and allow them to maximize its potential, its doomed to fall behind the global economy,” Obama warned. “We are in a sport centre and imagine you have a team and you don’t let half of the team play? That is stupid.”
He said communities that give opportunities to women similar to men are not only peaceful but prosperous.