This was the question that lingered in everybody’s mind at the recently concluded Gender Forum in Mombasa. The forum was held against the backdrop of a Mombasa court ruling that dismissed arguments that the practice of anal examination is degrading and amounts to torture and-by extension a violation of one’s rights.
Actual transformation of gender relations is painfully slow. Women in Kenya continue to suffer the brunt of poverty, illiteracy and exclusion from decision making. And men’s voices are largely missing from the equality dialogue. There seems to be political reluctance and resistance to reforming the system of governance in order to increase representation of women in public life.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were agreed upon in September 2015. The goals, 17 in total, aim to complete what the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) didn’t achieve as well as address the root causes of poverty and inequality.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a vice that has affected Kenya for decades. Despite several interventions by the government and NGOs, FGM continues to persist in certain communities in the country. National statistics indicate that the FGM prevalence rate stands at 27%.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that approximately 125 million girls and women alive today had been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in 29 countries, mainly in Africa and the Middle East where FGM is prevalent. On the 26th of February 2015, Heinrich Boell Foundation’s Nairobi office once again convened the monthly Gender Forum at the Nairobi Safari Club, with the agenda of addressing FGM in Kenya. In a highly emotional ambience, people from different backgrounds in Kenya came together to discuss FGM in Kenya and what can be done to fight the vice.
In post-war periods and in the aftermath of serious, systematic human rights violations, gender-based forms of violence are usually forgotten during the processing of the past and reconciliation phase. Yet, only when they are paid due regard can lasting peace processes be established. Given this, it is important to subject transitional justice institutions and approaches to a detailed review. The results: until now, transitional justice has, in many places, failed to address the gender dimensions but increasingly so the issues of inequality, hierarchies and violence patterns.
This study details these problems and presents the resulting challenges facing politicians and society.
This was a pertinent and topical subject, as Kenya underwent the first significant review of its constitution post-independence. This publication tackled a wide array of subjects and issues, ranging from a critique of the constitutional separation of powers from a gender perspective, to an examination of reproductive rights from a constitutional stand-point.