Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Based Violence Training

The Directorate of Research, Human Rights and Gender organized a Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Based Violence training that was held on 15th June 2021. The purpose of the training was to sensitize staff members and HODs on Gender and how it affects their lives and relationships both at work and at home.

The training was carried out by Gender experts from the National Gender and Equality Commission where 62 members of staff from both the academic and administration division participated in the training.

A section of the participants of the Gender Mainstreaming Training

In her introductory remarks, the DVC (AR&SA) appreciated the role of the Kenyan Constitution 2010 in promoting Gender. She pointed out that Gender Mainstreaming was all about policy formulation and implementation, more so at the university. She noted mainstreaming of gender calls for the use of gender sensitize language at the workplace both in the administration as well as in the teaching and research circles.

During his opening remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kibett Rotich welcomed the two trainers; Mr. Lewis Mwaniki and Mr. Douglas Wawire from the National Gender and Equality Commission(NGEC) to the University and he reported that the University has 2 Major policies on gender i.e. The Gender-Based Violence Workplace Policy and the Gender Mainstreaming Policy that give direction to the University on Gender matters.

In addition, the Vice-Chancellor reported that the University was performing fairly on matters of gender balance in the areas of student enrolment as well as staff employment. He reported that Laikipia University has 519 members of staff, out of which 413 work in the administration and 35% of this total are female and 106 work in the academics division, where 39.5 % are female. In general, out of the number of staff that work in Laikipia University 38% of them are female. He noted that the University was not doing badly but recognized that there was room for improvement, to increase the numbers of female staff members. Furthermore, the Vice-Chancellor remarked that both men and women are created equally the only difference is the different roles that are assigned to each sex. He urged members of staff to report any incidences of sexual harassment and emphasized that Laikipia University does not condone any form of Gender-Based Violence.

Some of the topics that were covered during the training were;

  • Introduction to Gender and Concepts in Gender

Where the term Gender was demystified and differentiated from the term Sex. The term Gender was explained to mean a social construct that differentiates the power, roles, responsibilities and obligations of men and women in society. While the term Sex was defined to mean biological and physiological characteristics that define female or male.

The take-away point from this was that people are born female or male, but learn to be girls and boys who grow into women and men. Meaning that GENDER IS LEARNED.

Secondly, the trainers differentiated between Gender Equality and Gender Equity. Where Gender Equality was explained as providing equal conditions to men and women to realize their full potential and contribute to, benefit from socio-cultural, economic and political development. In short, it means that women and men are full partners in their society. On the other hand, Gender Equity was defined as fairness and justice in the distribution of resources, benefits and responsibilities between men and women in all spheres of life, where women or men are disadvantaged.

In a nutshell, Gender Equality involves giving each gender equal resources without consideration of whether they previously had those resources, while Gender Equity is about going back into the past to first compensate historical and social disadvantages before sharing out resources.

A pictorial representation of the difference between equality, equity and reality

Source: www.sab.ac.lk

  • Sexual and Gender-Based Violence

Sexual and Gender-Based Violence was defined as any form of abuse directed against someone on the basis of his/her gender or sex roles in a society or culture.

It was noted that in the Kenyan context, women and girls are the most affected when it comes to gender-based violence, however, the trainers acknowledged that men and boys also suffer sexual gender-based violence the only difference is that women are more vocal and proactive about reporting such incidences.

In addition to that, trainees were enlightened on the different forms of sexual gender-based violence which include;

  • unwanted touching,
  • unwanted vaginal or anal penetration,
  • rape,
  • defilement,
  • widow cleansing,
  • forced prostitution.

Furthermore, it was reported that sexual gender-based violence also included physical violence such as; spouse beating, FGM, emotional violence such as verbally disrespecting someone, possessiveness, blackmail or even restricting of someone’s movement and economic violence such as; withholding family finances, deprivation of resources or even spending jointly earned income without consent.

  • Sexual Harassment in the workplace

A pictorial representation of what constitutes Sexual Harassment

Source: www.feminismindia.com

It was explained that sexual harassment was a prevalent issue in many workplaces around the world and it could be verbal or in the form of;

  • Comments about one’s body and clothing
  • Sexual jokes, remarks or teasing
  • Demands for sexual favors that come with hints or threats about one’s job
  • Insulting sounds
  • Staring at one’s body
  • Obscene gestures or teasing
  • Indecent touching
  • Gender Mainstreaming

It was noted that the term Gender Mainstreaming was adopted as a global strategy for achieving gender equality during the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995.

Gender Mainstreaming was defined as an approach to policy-making that takes into account the interests and concerns of both men and women.  It is a strategy to end gender blindness and its ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality.

It was explained that Gender Mainstreaming involves integrating a gender perspective into the designing, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of developments, policies, programs and projects in the university.

The most important steps of gender mainstreaming in any organization are;

  1. Analyzing the organization in terms of where it is in terms of gender balance and achievement of gender equality
  2. Identifying the changes that are needed to achieve gender equality
  3. Developing strategies and actions
  4. Implementation of the action plan
  5. Monitoring and evaluation of the strategies undertaken.

At the end of the training, Mr. Lewis Mwaniki and Mr. Douglas Wawire from National Gender and Equality Commission gifted the following resources materials to the University and they were received by the Vice-Chancellor;

  1. At Sunset will it Be Home? Audit of Residential Institutions of Older Members of Society in Selected Counties of Kenya.

  2. The Status of the Boy Child in Kenya: A Report of Emerging Perception on the Exclusion of the Boy Child in the Gender Equality Agenda

  3. Guidelines for Establishing and Managing Equality and Inclusion Technical Working Group

  4. Status of Equality and Inclusion in Kenya.

The Vice-Chancellor receiving donations from Mr. Lewis Mwaniki on the far Left and Mr. Douglas Second from left.

The above resource materials are available at the Gender Resource Centre that is located where the Human Rights Library is located in the former Human Rights and External Linkages office.

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