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Political will key to achieving gender equality

Equality requires relentless advocacy targeting policy makers, enforcers.

By MORAA OBIRIA

Efforts to achieve gender equality through adoption of gender data in development programs would be futile without political will, women rights advocates say.

Speaking on Tuesday during a webinar themed Gender Data:The Unlearned Lessons of Global Pandemics, Catherine Nyambura, deputy director of Kenya-based women rights organisation, Dandelion Kenya, cried foul of governments’ non-utilisation of gender data in decision making.

“For example data on HIV that touches on women rights has existed for long but the government has not utilised it in making decisions,” she said during the webinar organised by a Switzerland based  gender data advocacy organisation, Gendro.

Changing the situation, she said would require relentless advocacy targeting policy makers and enforcers.

She, however, said simplifying gender data for ease of understanding would be an inducement for government to take it up.

Securing political will would translate to democtratisation of gender data consequent to its adoption in making gender responsive decisions, she said.

These decisions, she said, would in the long-term address needs of all women and girls, including those with disabilities, adolescents and young mothers; thus advancing their growth and development

“It requires the civil society to push the government to adopt gender data while making decisions,” she urged.

President of Gendro, Shirin Heidari, said continuous engagements between gender equality players and governments on significance of gender data would yield positive growth in societies.

“There has to a political act to ensure design and implementation of gender sensitive policies,” she said.