Accelerating Progress through Sustained Investment in Women


G7 women leaders launch
Anna Mutavati, UN Women Country Representative, delivering opening remarks at the launch of the G7 Strategy, at Safari Park, Nairobi. (Photo: UN Women/Angela Wambugu)

Nairobi, March 2024 − This year’s International Women’s Day was marked by a series of remarkable events, centred around the theme “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”. The events prompted discussions on vital topics essential to building inclusive societies, particularly through the economic empowerment of women and girls.

As the global champion for women and girls, UN Women participated in these events led by Anna Mutavati, UN Women Kenya Country Representative. These activities provided opportunities for diverse stakeholder engagement and dialogue to create a better future for all. 

The commemoration also served as a moment of reflection on efforts and progress made towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on Gender Equality within the context of economic empowerment.

A significant highlight of International Women’s Day was the national commemoration in Embu County presided by H.E the President of the Republic of Kenya, Dr. William S. Ruto.

Other esteemed dignitaries present included H.E Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, cabinet secretaries, governors from various counties, members of parliament, development partners among other leaders. Their presence underscored a unified effort for fostering an environment where women thrive in society.

During the event, H.E. President Ruto emphasized the importance of women's inclusion in leadership roles to accelerate progress, pledging to enhance efforts to empower women to actively participate in decision-making processes.

Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Gender, Culture, the Arts and Heritage, Hon. Aisha Jumwa, echoed his sentiment, highlighting the pivotal role of women in driving economic growth and emphasizing the need for investment in women to unlock their full potential.

UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments such as the aforementioned Ministry, and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services to ensure that women’s human rights are upheld. 

Despite progress, gender inequalities persist globally, with women facing barriers to accessing decent work, education, health care, and political representation. Empowering women fuels thriving economies, accelerating productivity and growth.

Anna Mutavati commended H.E President Ruto for his steadfast commitment to women’s empowerment as well as his leadership in advancing gender equality in Kenya.

Women lack access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps. They are too often denied access to basic education and health care. Women in all parts of the world suffer violence and discrimination and are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes. 

Prior to the celebrations, Kenya achieved a significant milestone with the launch of the G7 Strategy by seven women governors. This strategy aims to empower women leaders in demonstrating effective governance, with UN Women playing a pivotal role in its development with support from Global Canada Affairs.

UN Women extended its support to various events countrywide, including the global initiative, Ring The Bell for Gender Equality, a collaboration with the Nairobi Securities Exchange and Global Compact Network Kenya. The initiative aims to promote gender equality in business and finance, mobilizing finance for gender-focused investment products, and enhancing women's access to financial markets.

Through its active participation in events across Laikipia, Kitui, West Pokot County, and collaborations with media outlets, UN Women advocated for the contribution of women and girls in reshaping Kenya's economic landscape.

Overall, UN Women's engagement underscores the collective effort towards advancing gender equality and fostering inclusive societies, ultimately driving progress and prosperity for all.