20th Gender Awareness Day marked at Egerton University
The Institute of Women, Gender and Development Studies (IWGDS) held the 20th annual Gender Awareness Day at Main Campus in Njoro on 18 October 2021. The day's theme was "Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID 19 World", and the Chief Guest, Dr Joyce Mutinda, Chairperson of National Gender Equality Commission, graced the occasion.
The Gender Awareness Day was graced by students and staff members led by Professor Isaac Kibwage. Other guests included Ms Rehema Kiteto, an Alumni of the University and the youngest Assistant County Commissioner in Bomet County, Kenya.
The Director IWGDS, Professor Rose Odhiambo, gave the opening remarks. She appreciated the Egerton University community for adhering to the two-thirds gender rule that is in the Constitution. She noted that the high female representations in deanship positions with currently over 60%.
"Egerton University has done so much in mainstreaming gender in academics. For example, the Faculty of Engineering & Technology had a seven per cent female representation when we started. In our 2021 survey, it has gone up to 23 per cent," said Prof. Odhiambo.
"In STEM subjects when we started, we were at 19 per cent, and as we speak, we are nearing 30% of female representation. However, we have a low percentage in management positions, and I believe with the leadership of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Isaac Kibwage, he will do something about the representation," added the Director IWGDS.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kibwage, said that the University had covered considerable ground in ensuring that women are promoted to leadership positions just as men and much more still remains to be done.
"Gender inequality is still evident at the University as indicated by our recently reviewed Gender Policy and policy and procedures on Gender-based Violence and Sexual harassment prevention; which I will be launching in a short while", said the Vice-Chancellor.
"All the supportive data through a baseline survey, 2021, indicate that as a University, we are on the right path towards achieving gender equality in all our academic, leadership and research endeavours, though there is still room for improvement for maximum development," added the VC.
Prof. Kibwage called upon concerted efforts in dealing with gender-based violence and discrimination within the Egerton University community.
"To succeed in dealing with the issues of inequality that include gender-based violence and discrimination (esp. against women, girls and other marginalized groups), we must all wake up to the reality that we need one another as men and women. Therefore, we must put more effort in building the capacity of our men and women at the University to help them appreciate the importance of gender mainstreaming hence gender equality in development," he added.
The Vice-Chancellor noted that Egerton University had put in place various policies and strategies to help promote gender equality and women leadership through research and innovation, adding that the ongoing process required collective responsibilities from staff and students.
The Chief Guest, Chairperson of the National Gender & Equality Commission, Dr Joyce Mutinda, congratulated the University for developing the two policies that ought to be in tandem with the National Gender & Development Policy launched in 2019.
Dr Mutinda noted that Kenya was on the right path to fighting gender inequality and gender-based violence, adding that she will ensure that all state agencies adhere to the two-thirds gender rule in leadership positions.
The event marked at the Graduation Square was streamed live via Egerton University YouTube account and saw entertainment and presentations from the student fraternity and remarks from EUSA Chairperson Mr Denis Makau.