16 Days of Activism!

Elimination of Violence and Discrimination against Women

Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet
-Alice Walker-
Source: Awareness Days website

The 25th of November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) to the 10th of December(Human Rights Day)marks the 16 day period set aside for activism against Gender –Based Violence. This campaign is on a mission to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.

Impunity, silence and stigma have allowed violence against women to escalate to such worrying extents.The times of putting up with dysfunction, living in fear, settling in violence and hoping against all hope for a miracle needs to end.

In recent years, the voices of survivors and activists, through campaigns such as #Me Too, #Times Up, #Not One More, and others, have erupted and as such cannot be silenced any more. Advocates and Lobbyists understand that while the names and contexts may differ across geographic locations, women and girls everywhere are experiencing extensive abuse and their stories need to be brought to light. This is why the UNiTE Campaign’s global advocacy theme this year is: Orange the world #hear me too.

In Kenya it is coincidental that during these 16days of activism, a gender bill that has evoked different emotions nationally has failed to materialise. The failure to pass this bill seems to risk plunging the country into a constitutional crisis. Our Constitution 2010, states clearly that no more than two-thirds of any elected or appointed body should be of the same gender. Yet statistically peaking,women hold 22 percent of seats in the country’s lower house of parliament, and 31 percent in the upper house.

It is not news that women in politics globally have to work twice as hard, face a barrage of challenges including but not entirely: physical and sexual violence and lack of money to fund their campaigns. Quotas have however helped create a more level playing field for women and has also ensured that their voice is represented.

The gender bill proposed provides for special seats to be created if elections fail to achieve required numbers, with candidates from the under-represented gender nominated to fill them. It should come as no surprise that the bill faces stiff resistance.

Previous attempts to vote on a bill have flopped, largely due to lack of quorum. Kenya still being a patriarchal country, still uses populist comments and sensationalist sexist slurs, to portray the draft legislation as a “women’s’ bill, rather than a gender bill which it actually is. This provision could be men or women like in the case of Rwanda where currently more men are nominated to achieve the threshold of two-thirds. Passing the gender rule is important for posterity, regardless of gender.

This gender bill is not a favour being done unto women it is a constitutional requirement that needs to be addressed. Ignorance is no longer an option. As we rise to the occasion on these 16 days of activism, Kenyan women eyeing politics are determined to make their voices be heard and get the bill implemented as required by the law.

Sub Saharan International Model United Nations (SAIMUN) is a five-day international relations simulation for both high school and university/college students that is held annually at the United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON) Gigiri. The international meeting is attended by more than 800 students from all over the world, in which they debate the major issues of the international political agenda. SAIMUN19 now beckons all of us to once again take part. The theme is “Youth Leadership at its Peak:The role of the Youth In Sustainable Development” It will be held from 8th -12th July 2019, so make sure your calendars are marked!
SAIMUN also strives to offer an all-rounded journalism experience to the media team through simulating different media: a newspaper — 
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