Scaling Up Women’s Empowerment

by | Jun 4, 2022 | Eq - Written | 0 comments

Women in Kenya face high levels of unemployment, particularly amid a weakened economy over the COVID-19 period, the situation is even worse for young women who risk domestic violence, trafficking, rape, depression, and inability to care for themselves and their immediate dependents. These conditions moreover greatly affect those women and girls who are sadly, seen by our society as weak as they face so much stigma and significant barriers to accessing healthcare services with underlying conditions such as HIV/Aids, Cancer and many other. This hurts their personal development, education, and mental wellness and perpetuates the cycle of extreme poverty.

Young women in Kenya face several forms of gender-based discrimination and inequality. For Example, Gender gaps in educational enrolment are quite prominent, dropout rates, early marriage, and persistence of unmet needs in reproductive health and family planning services, gender-based violence, food insecurity, unemployment, low standards of living, and lack of market-ready skills, inter alia, shape the life options and well-being of women in both rural and informal urban setups. Yet, the potential contribution of vulnerable and marginalized women to dynamic and inclusive growth and jobs and further our economy, remains one of Kenya’s greatest but untapped resources. This has resulted in a depressed, discouraged lot of women, who are easily exploited through poor wages, prostitution, and trafficking.

Further, very low entrepreneurship rates are witnessed among Kenya’s youth. Young people, particularly females, encounter difficulties in starting and running a business because of a lack of access to credit, lack of business skills, and lack of marketing outlets and financial services (Population Council 2019). 

Not only are young women disadvantaged in their access to material resources like credit, property, and money, but they have also been excluded from social resources such as knowledge and skills related to business, they lack the self-confidence and sense of self-worth needed to secure desired changes and gain the right to control their lives.

Therefore, for women to do away with the myriad of challenges and vulnerabilities, we have to expand their livelihood opportunities. Change must occur in the lives of individual women and girls in terms of their confidence, self-esteem, and social and economic well-being. At the individual level, social capital enhances content acquisition and boosts self-confidence and agency so that women can increasingly act on their behalf and take advantage of opportunities that arise. Also, we need to realize that supporting skills uptake and enabling women to start and control their means of income and survival works by catapulting them towards eliminating vulnerability, reduces the chances of gender-based violence, rape, unwanted pregnancies, extreme poverty, and abuse of any nature that comes up with lack of Empowerement to our young girls and women in society.

Written by: Patrick Mbugua

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