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International Women’s Day: 7 promises to women Ruto has not kept

Invest in women: Accelerate progress.

This is the theme of the March 8, 2024, International Women’s Day.

On this day, women are celebrated for their achievements in various aspects of life.

“The world is facing many crises, ranging from geopolitical conflicts to soaring poverty levels and the escalating impacts of climate change. These challenges can only be addressed by solutions that empower women. By investing in women, we can spark change and speed the transition towards a healthier, safer, and more equal world for all,” said the United Nations in their statement on this day.

In Kenya, President William Ruto made several promises to women during his campaigns and once he ascended to power about empowering women.

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Just recently, earlier this week, he went as far as promising that the next Deputy President of Kenya vying on a United Democratic Alliance ticket would be a woman.

While commendable, he continues to struggle to keep the promises he made to his female voters.

Nairobi News now explores what some of these unkept promises are even as he moved to celebrate International Women’s Day by appointing eight female ambassadors:

  1. During the 2022 campaign period, he promised new mothers that they would get three-month supplies of free diapers for their babies if he won the presidency. This has never been realized.
  2. He also promised to ensure the two-thirds gender rule within the first 90 days of his presidency in favor of women, saying “Women don’t have to wait for long” but this has yet to be achieved over one year later considering this policy often faced opposition from members of Parliament. Currently, his government is pushing to have a Bill tabled in Parliament that will ensure more women are elected to Parliament for representation, and all Parliamentarians have been told to rally behind the Bill. The outcome remains to be seen.
  3. Ruto promised in September 2022 that half of his Cabinet would consist of women to bridge gender inequality in the country. When naming his cabinet, he failed to honor this promise and only appointed seven women. The Cabinet is currently made up of 24 Secretaries.
  4. President Ruto promised to provide free sanitary towels to all girls in the education sector. However, this ran into headwinds when the budgets were made and the issue was taken with the colossal amount of money set aside for this. The issue took a political turn and by October 2023, schools were yet to receive sanitary towels. At one point, Parliament descended into chaos as female Parliamentarians began waving sanitary towels around, chanting pads and sanitary towels when the issue landed in Parliament.
  5. In June 2022, during a meeting with women, Ruto pledged to introduce a women’s rights agency to protect women from Gender-Based Violence (GBV). While on the campaign trail, he pointed out that the agency will be tasked with looking into issues affecting domestic workers facing mistreatment in the Middle East. This agency is yet to be set up.
  6. In June 2022, Ruto promised that his administration would ensure that all land transactions in the country are consented to by women as part of enforcing the spousal consent provisions of the law but this is yet to be effected or witnessed on the ground.
  7. He promised to end the use of firewood and charcoal for cooking but this is yet another empty promise considering the bulk of households in the country still use fossil fuel.