FIDA Advocates for Women Leadership in Machakos Debate

Virginia Kibunja, a program officer Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has advocated for Women’s Leadership in the Machakos County Debate.

She weighed in on the matter at a public participation event organized by FIDA, with the help of USAID-ELGIA. Machakos County Assembly women’s caucus participated in an open debate between female leaders and the public about topics concerning women’s leadership and governance.

Virginia told the press at Machakos Social Hall that the conference was a way to bring women together and debate ways to remove barriers to their political engagement. She emphasized FIDA’s goal of encouraging individuals’ active participation in the democratic process. This is through offering a forum for them to air their concerns, provide feedback, and contribute to the governance and legislation reform processes.

She noted that FIDA is committed to educating citizens about their role in encouraging women in management and how to deal with the obstacles they face. Kibunja also stated that the federation was analyzing the development and achievements made by the female leaders since they rose to leadership within the last year.

“We have worked with the Machakos County Assembly where we have conducted membership training with them and helped the women in capacity building that will equip them effectively to come up with gender-responsive legislation,” Kibunja said.

She mentioned that financial constraints are one of the major challenges that women pursuing leadership in Kenya confront.

“Electoral-based violence was also mentioned in the forum and online bullying during campaigns and voting process discouraged the majority of the women from vying for the political seats,” she went on to say.

A comparable public discussion forum is currently underway in other counties, including Nakuru and Kirinyaga, to improve transparency and adaptability in women’s governance and leadership, as well as to encourage citizen engagement in democracy as a whole.

Machakos County Assembly Speaker Ann Kiusya highlighted that cultural norms are among the barriers that women encounter when running for political office.

“Women can lead and succeed. Women are capable of leadership and can achieve great things when supported, as the Speaker of the County Assembly of Machakos I am equal to the task and have been doing my work well,” she said.

She lamented the small percentage of elected female members of the County Assembly and urged the community to support women and close the gender leadership gap in the country.

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