Did you know that women in Rwanda now top the world rankings of women in national parliaments, with 49 per cent of representation compared to a world average of 15.1 per cent. Rwandan women suffered death, humiliation, persecution and sexual abuse during a 100-day massacre that left more than 800,000 people dead.

As the country undergoes a period of reconstruction, women are taking an active role. They not only head about a third of all households, but have also taken up many jobs that were formerly the preserve of men, as in construction and mechanics.

Why am I interested in this topic?

Because women have had enough of the way politics are being conducted in Africa. More women are now getting involved with politics such as Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria and now Kenya.

Unfortunately we as African women are still a long way in accepting our own to be politicians, women politicians are not taken seriously because we believe they cannot perfom on the same level as men! We need to change our attitudes.

I met such a lady who visited UK to tell us her vision about Kenya in 2012. Her name is Ms Martha Karua who is vying for presidental election, for the few moments that I listened to her speech, to talking with her on a personal level, I put my trust in her that she can deliver given the chance. Kenya may still be a long way in accepting a woman president but she will be a pioneer, and I do wish her luck in her campaign.

I believe that if women are fully involved in politics there will be benefits to be gained as women tend to concentrate on the social aspect of life, health, education, fair Justice, transparency in decision making and investments, if this are met, then the rest will follow smoothly.

We have already spoken about Wangari Maathai in Women Heroes blog the nobel prize winner for the Environment and also a member of Parliament in Kenya. She is a woman not be messed around, but am sure it was not easy for her to get where she is now.

Martha Wangari Karua is a Kenyan politician. She is a Member of Parliament and an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya. She was Minister of Justice until resigning from that position in April 2009.

She has been a leading crusader for the widening of democratic space and gender issues in Kenya. She has been involved in championing women’s rights through public interest litigation, lobbying and advocacy for laws that enhance and protect women’s rights through her work with various women’s organizations, particularly the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA-Kenya) and the League of Kenya Women Voters.

  • In 1991 Karua was recognized by Human Rights Watch as a human rights monitor.
  • In December 1995 she was awarded by the Federation of Kenya Women Lawyers (FIDA) for advancing the course of women.
  • In 1999 the Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists awarded her the 1999 Kenya Jurist of the Year and in the same year same month, the law society of Kenya (LSK) awarded her the Legal Practitioners Due Diligence Award.

For the few moments I spoke to her, she inspired me.

I look forward to hearing your views on African Women and Politics!

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Comment by Wambui Njau on September 26, 2011 at 10:23
I am so saddened by the death of a great African Woman whom I admired and respected for her work in environmental issues,human rights and especially womens rights.  She will be greatly missed. Rest in Peace Wangari Maathai.
Kenya's Nobel peace laureate Wangari Maathai dies.

NAIROBI — Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, has died of cancer aged 71, her family said Monday.

"It is with great sadness that the family of professor Wangari Maathai announces her passing away on 25th September 2011 at the Nairobi hospital after a prolonged and bravely borne struggle with cancer," said a statement issued via the Green Belt Movement she founded.

Maathai became a key figure in Kenya since founding the movement in 1977, staunchly campaigning for environmental conservation and good governance.

She won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her reforestation work in her native Kenya -- the first African woman, the first Kenyan and the first environmentalist to receive this honour. Her organisation has planted some 40 million trees across Africa.

The first woman in east and central Africa to earn a doctorate, Maathai also headed the Kenya Red Cross in the 1970s.

Aside from her conservation work, Maathai was elected an MP in 2002 and then named the environment assistant minister, a position she held between 2003 and 2005.

For more than a decade from the 1980s, her movement also joined the struggle against the dictatorial regime of Kenya's former president Daniel Arap Moi, with Maathai repeatedly teargassed and beaten by police.

During the time, she famously campaigned against the construction of a high-rise building at a park in central Nairobi, stopped the grabbing of a forest outside the city and successfully pressed for the release of 51 political prisoners.

The award-winning Maathai in recent years founded green groups and launched several campaigns against climate change and environmental protection.

Outside Kenya, Maathai was involved in efforts to save central Africa's Congo basin forest, the world's second largest tropical forest.

Maathai, who was divorced, leaves behind three children and a granddaughter.

"Professor Maathai?s departure is untimely and a very great loss to all who knew her as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model, and heroine, or who admired her determination to make the world a more peaceful, healthier, and better place," said the statement.



Comment by A.W.E on December 2, 2010 at 9:51
Wambui this is a great topic. Living in Germany and our counsellor is a Woman, I believe it is possible to have a woman as a President in Kenya. I think this would be the best thing that would happen to Kenya. Martha Karua deserve this position. If all women in Kenya would vote for her and believe that woman can also lead a nation this would be a great positive revelation for the way woman are treated and I mean in all aspects.
All the best Martha.....A.W.E is right behind you and any other woman going in this direction. I believe if we all work together nothing would be impossible.....Right WOMEN?????? Together we are STRONG........


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