What a month people! This past month, March, has been Women’s History Month!
Since the beginning of the month, we have dedicated content that was in tandem with this theme.
We began with narrating to you The Origin of Women’s History Month and its significance to Women’s Empowerment. We then gave you a list of ten women in Africa who are breaking barriers and stereotypes in Africa.
International Women’s Day, March 8 came and we did more action, attended a women’s day event where we shared our experiences in this movement and the milestones we aim to achieve.
We took you back to the struggle for independence in Kenya, where he highlighted the great Muthoni wa Kirima, the only field Marshall in the MauMau.
So we decided to track the women’s right movement, how it has morphed over the years, the milestones we have bravely fought for, the challenges we have met and what still remains to be achieved.
It’s been 46 years of long struggle and tenacious march to freedom since the first women conference was held in Mexico City; 1975 with three other proceedings, each five years apart, in Copenhagen, Nairobi, in Beijing.
The last conference in Beijing 1995 saw the birth of The Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action; an agenda on women empowerment- the key global gender equality policy document. This was adopted by 189 countries.
The policy document sets strategic actions and objectives for the realization of gender equality in 12 critical areas. These areas include; women and poverty, education and training of women, women and health, violence against women, women and armed conflict, women and the economy, women and power in decision-making, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, human rights of women, women and the media, women and the environment, and the girl child.
The 46 years have seen a lot of advancement, retrogression, opposition and even decline of the feminist agenda also referred to as gender equality, women empowerment; but enjoys to be called the latter two because of misunderstanding of the placement of FEM in the ideology.
Last year marked the end of the African Women’s Decade; started in 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya on Grassroots Approach to Gender Equality and Women Empowerment adopted on 15th October 2010. And the advent of African Women’s Decade on Financial and Economic Inclusion of African Women 2020-2030.
A 25-year review on the Beijing Action Platform was to be held last year. Unfortunately, due to the havoc caused by Covid in 2020, the Commission on the Status of Women convened, on 9 March, for a meeting that included opening statements followed by the adoption of the draft Political Declaration. The session was then suspended until further notification.
On the Ground
You might find the history on the emancipation of women and the creation of actual policies in ensuring this progress boring, un realistic and far off from reality.
So, let’s go through some major milestones that we have observed over the years since 1975.
- Gender equality was included in the global agenda as Sustainable Development Goal Number 5.
- Saudi Arabia allowed her women to drive.
- We have more women as cabinet secretaries, governors, world leaders, CEOs and businesswomen.
- More women continue to join in workspaces that were predominantly male.
- During Covid, women-led countries emerged as the most prepared and responsive in crises.
- Scotland enlisted as the first country to provide free menstrual products in the world, spiking a ripple effect among developed countries.
- Gender-based Violence shelters are emerging around developing countries to enable women heal from trauma and restore their dignity.
- There is an awareness that is touching different women around the world who are learning to live liberated lives and be the best they can be.
- With free education and the gradual abandonment of retrogressive cultures, more women are getting education and becoming more aware of our cultural products.
- Several sexual offences Acts have been enacted by world governments. Still sexual offences are increasing daily.
- FGM continues to be a tough battle among practicing cultures.