JOYCE LABOSO

They urge women to change their at­ti­ti­tudes to­wards those as­pir­ing for elec­tive posts. ‘Coun­try will re­alise sig­nif­i­cant growth if men en­gaged women ri­vals on is­sues’

The Star (Kenya) - - News - REUBEN GITHINJI @TheS­tarKenya

Wants end to gen­der bias

The Na­tional As­sem­bly deputy speaker and 15 women MPs have urged male as­pi­rants to stop dis­crim­i­nat­ing against women ri­vals and, in­stead, en­gage them on is­sues. They ex­pressed fears over ram­pant use of sex­ist state­ments. The lead­ers said sex­ism is to blame for the low num­ber of elected women.

Six­teen women leg­is­la­tors have urged male as­pi­rants to stop dis­crim­i­na­tion against women ri­vals and, in­stead, en­gage them on is­sues.

Led by Na­tional As­sem­bly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso and Run­yen­jes MP Ce­cily Mbarire, they ex­pressed fears over ram­pant use of sex­ist state­ments. The lead­ers blamed this for the low num­ber of elected women.

The MPs vis­ited Embu county on Thursday to drum up sup­port for Mbarire, who has de­clared to run for gov­er­nor. In an ex­er­cise called ‘Women for Women’, they said the re­sent pub­lic spat be­tween Mbarire and Se­na­tor Lenny Kivuti was a sign of women’s prej­u­di­cial treat­ment.

They said the coun­try will re­alise sig­nif­i­cant growth if men en­gaged their women ri­vals in is­sue-based pol­i­tics. The MPs urged women to use their nu­mer­i­cal strength to elect fel­low women.

Present were Zip­po­rah Ker­ing (Nandi), Rachel Shebesh (Nairobi), Beatrice Nkatha (Tharaka-Nithi), Florence Ka­juju (Meru), Saipai Tuya (Narok), Sarah Korere, Es­ther Gathogo (Ruiru) and Peris To­biko (Ka­ji­ado East).

Oth­ers were San­jeev Birdi, Naisula Le­su­uda, Beatrice Elachi (nom­i­nated), Alice Wa­home (Kan­dara), Rachel Nya­mai (Ki­tui Cen­tral) and Mary Emaase (Teso South). Kirinyaga gov­er­nor hope­ful Anne Waig­uru also at­tended.

“I urge my ri­vals to re­spect me as an equal com­peti­tor and not mis­treat me be­cause I’m a woman. I’ll re­cip­ro­cate in equal mea­sure. If they look down on me, I’ll get an­gry. We should not be told we’ll be bought like veg­eta­bles,” Mbarire said.

She said she has faced gen­der-based dis­crim­i­na­tion in her 15 years in pol­i­tics and the sit­u­a­tion has not changed. Mbarire said her goal is to im­prove county lead­er­ship by man­ag­ing its re­sources well.

/ REUBEN GITHINJI /PATRICK OKUMU /HEZRON NJOROGE

Run­yen­jes MP Ce­cily Mbaririe Meru woman rep­re­sen­ta­tive Florence Ka­juju Na­tional As­sem­bly Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso dur­ing an in­ter­view in her of­fice in Par­lai­ment on July

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