NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18-Discrimination has been cited as a major set back in the pursuit of women running for top leadership positions in the country.
Public service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Margaret Kobia said a perceived negative attitude towards women as being incapable leaders continues to act as a deterrent of women who have leadership ambitions.
“I can say in Kenya when young women are going into politics it is very challenging, we are faced with stereotypes, lack of finances but the worst of all is violence and discrimination,” the CS said.
Kobia maintains that women should not be easily dismissed when offering their leadership skills while at the same time emphasizing that the country’s leadership continues to champion for women’s empowerment.
“When a young woman wins a top leadership position it is because of the competency one brings in that position,” she adds.
“I also want to encourage you that it is possible to run this race, but you are following a very narrow path,” the CS reiterated in her aim to further motivate the ambitious women leaders who attended the African Women Leaders Network retreat held at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi.
The event attracted over 4000 Women delegates under the Africa Umbrella focused on building momentum towards the realization of gender equality and empowerment.
United Nations Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka said the organisation remains focused on supporting women leaders.
“We will ensure that the organization takes steps against violence and discrimination of women eyeing top leadership positions,” Ngcuka said.
Other leaders present included former President of the Central African Republic Catherine Samba-Panza, Africa Union Youth Envoy Leader Aya Chebbi, Coordinator, African Young Women leaders, Caucus Joannie Bewa.
Since 2000, the proportion of women in leadership positions has increased across the African Continent except in the least developed countries, according to statistics read out at the event.