#007: The Victorious Women of Kenya's Elections

Aug 18 Issue of Empower46 below. To receive more like this straight to your inbox, join us here.


  • The Victorious Women of Kenya's Elections

In the Empower46 July 21 issue, I reported on the pressure and gender-bias that women in the Kenyan election were facing. 

Like women do, they persevered.  The conclusion of the Kenyan electoral season saw women chipping at the glass ceiling of Kenyan politics: out of nine women pursuing gubernatorial seats, three were successfully elected. Additionally, three women were elected into the senate; while ten women earned seats in the National Assembly. These elections were historic for Kenyan women as it marks the first time women have won seats in the legislature. Women securing a major place in Kenyan politics has set a standard for Kenya - and at the thought of these pioneering women, pride is the first word that comes to mind.

Read for"Representation of women in the Kenyan National Assembly is also set to increase from 6 to 16 female MPs, following the successful election of 10 female members of parliament in the just-concluded poll."



  • Nigerian Women Are Cracking The Code  

The Nigerian tech industry is growing exponentially and has attracted some of the biggest investors in Silicon Valley - and the women of the Nigerian tech industry are not taking a back seat. Although there tends to be the societal assumption that STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Math) courses are better suited for men, Nigerian women are particularly gaining ground in the Tech industry. This is made easier through the growing presence of programs and foundations like She Will Connect Africa, opportunities to engage in formal mentoring programs, and local scholarships for women to study tech.

Read for"It is hopeful that we will one day get to a point where tech-related fields are level playing grounds for both sexes. It is a challenge that continues around the globe, but it is one Nigeria is well equipped to handle.



  • Tackling FGM with the i-Cut App

Speaking of Tech and speaking of Kenya, five Kenyan girls have developed an app to tackle female genital mutilation. The app, called i-Cut, will connect victims of FGM to legal and medical assistance. Young girls who are forced to undergo this procedure can press a panic button on the app which will alert authorities. Although still practiced in some areas, FGM is outlawed in Kenya - therefore, the will can help local authorities to enforce punishment on those who carry out this heinous act on young girls.

Besides the amazing feeling this story brings, it's even better that it was forwarded to me by an Empower46 subscriber. I love when that happens - because it reminds me of why Empower46 was created: as a knowledge-sharing community. I appreciate you E.

Read for“[The app creators], Stacy Owino, Cynthia Otieno, Purity Achieng, Mascrine Atieno and Ivy Akinyi, have named themselves 'The Restorers', and will be the only Africans participating in the 2017 Technovation Challenge in Silicon Valley in August."


  • Tunisia Takes Steps to End Violence Against Women  

A dazzling new law in Tunisia outlaws violence against women by making it easier to prosecute domestic violence. The law also imposes penalties for sexual harassment in public spaces, as well as makes provisions to protect women from economic discrimination. Additionally, the new law includes preventive measures such as mandating the creation of programs to detect and prevent violence against women (via the national Health Ministry) and allowing women seek restraining orders against their abusers  without filing a criminal case or divorce. This law marks a massive victory for women's rights groups in the country and has received praise from international rights groups. Although the next frontier is to push Tunisia to ensure that funds and human capital are effectively allocated towards implementation of this law, its codification is a major step forward.

Watch for"When Parliament passed a measure last week outlawing violence against women, some burst into ululation and passed around bouquets of jasmine."



  • The First Lady, A Fugitive

Grace Mugabe, Zimbabwean First Lady and wife of Zimbabwean dictator, Robert Mugabe, made her way into the news this past week for assault. Bear with me as this is quite a story: while in South Africa last week, Grace allegedly assaulted a 20-year-old woman with an extension cord. Grace reportedly found the younger lady in a hotel room  in Johannesburg with her [Grace's] sons - and then attacked her.  

In what reads like a poorly scripted reality TV show, it is not clear whether Grace is in South Africa or has returned to Zimbabwe - but she failed to turn herself in to police in South Africa. There is concern that Grace's actions (and the subsequent reaction from South Africa) might cause a diplomatic rift, or at least have its day in the court of public opinion, as opposition in both countries believe that Grace should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Of course, whether or not diplomatic immunity will save her as it did in Hong Kong back in 2009 is anyone's guess. 

Read for“On whether [Grace] could be arrested despite having diplomatic immunity, minister Mbalula said: 'All those implications will be taken into consideration.' He then added: 'She will be charged.'" 



Nneoma NwankwoComment