The traditional image of a Kenyan woman is that of a wife and mother. She is also the perfect cook and benevolent host who takes care of guests and relatives and creates a good impression of her household to the outside world. However, modernity, the emergence of life-threatening diseases and tough economic conditions, have conspired to fundamentally change the role of the woman ins society. Despite this, Kenyan women have excelled in difficult circumstances including the following:
HIV /Aids treatment and care
In 2014, the Kenya Ministry of Health reported that, “The National HIV and AIDS Estimates Working group estimated HIV prevalence rate among people aged 15-49 to be 6.0% in 2013. Although the Spectrum results show a continued decline of HIV prevalence among adult population from late 1990s to 2008 the prevalence has since stabilized.” One of the reasons for this decline is the role women are playing in sensitizing communities and taking care of the sick. For example, Assunta Wagura, a HIV /Aids activist and writer, who lives positively, has been at the forefront of fighting the illness for years.
The late Nobel Peace Laureate, Prof Wangari Maathai, gained global recognition for her efforts to conserve the environment at a time when the then regime was known for brutality against dissenters. She once said, “We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all.” Maathai was also a human rights activist who resisted all sorts of oppression.
Women in Politics and Leadership
The current regime recognized the abilities of women when it appointed four of them as ministers. They have performed their duties exceptionally well so far. In addition, the Kenya Supreme Court has two women out of six judges, one of them being a woman of Indian descent. Affirmative action was also used to create 47 special seats for women, one in each county and those elected are doing a good job representing women.
Women in business
One of the most outstanding women in the Kenya business scene is Tabitha Karanja. She started Keroche Breweries which has managed to create a niche for itself in a market dominated by East African Breweries, part of a global conglomerate and the market leader in the beer industry. Her resilience has resulted in Tabitha being recognized as one of the best business leaders in Africa.