With high-stakes election seasons in four of WomenStrong’s five countries, students from all over the world share their thoughts about women leaders and women’s leadership in general. This week students from WomenStrong’s Empowerment Clubs in Kenya and an African Leadership Academy girl from Senegal share about inspiring women leaders in the politics in their countries.
Edna Achieng, Kenya
Edna is a 13-year-old student in Grade 8 at Migosi Primary School in Kisumu, Kenya.
The strong female leader in my country that I know is Margaret Kenyatta. I love her because she cares about others, whereas for the males, they don’t care that much about others. Mrs. Kenyatta loves everyone in this country and volunteers herself to help us. If female leaders were not there, women would be seen as trash, and no one would waste his time listening to her.
If we had strong female elected leaders in our country, enough medical providers would be there, and all pregnant mothers would be cared for well, because the women understand more than the men. All the roads would have been developed, and our country would have had more foreign exchange than now. Our high death rate would not be there, because female leaders would understand that a mother losing a baby is because of a lack of doctors.
For females to become leaders in society, a child should not be denied education. In the Maasai community, the girls are denied education because they believe that girls are born for males to impregnate and give birth. What should be done is that the Maasai community should be educated about the importance of girls’ rights. The girls should be taught moral values and that they can become leaders of greater heights. They should be educated, and they need to know their rights.
Katy Fofana, Senegal
Katy is 15 and from the Cape Verde Islands. She is currently living in Senegal, but has spent much of her life moving back and forth between Senegal and South Africa.
In the country where I currently live, Senegal, there aren’t many examples of women practicing leadership. So, a couple years ago, when we got our second female prime minister, Aminata (Mimi) Touré, I, along with the majority of Senegalese women, was extremely excited. Mimi Touré was making Senegalese history! She promised us a lot of things, and she’s doing everything in her power to accomplish them! For instance, the Senegalese nationality is now transmissible through the mother. It might not sound like much, but as a woman, being now able to legally give an important piece of yourself to your offspring — where you come from — is something really meaningful. That’s actually how I got my Senegalese nationality. She also enabled women to gain access to a lot more services, and I believe she reinforced our place in society.
Jonathan Okwaro, Kenya
Jonathan is a 14-year-old student in Grade 8 at Migosi Primary School in Kisumu, Kenya.
A strong female leader in our country is Ruth Odinga. She is known as a good ruling leader who has done many things for Kisumu. She is the only female leader in our county, Kisumu. She loves both men and women. When she makes speeches, you’d think that the heavens have opened. She speaks nicely, without any fear of people looking at her. She supports boys and girls in our county, and that’s why I like her.
Without Ruth Odinga, our county would’ve been a mess. When you have men only leading our county, the girl child would be neglected, because men do not have the feeling of a mother. If our country, Kenya, would have strong female leaders, people will live in peace and harmony, because women do not like corruption like men, who only think of money. Our country would have been one of the prosperous countries in the world.
For girls to be chosen as leaders, our country needs to stop corruption and stop people believing that girls’ and women’s main work is to take care of the family and not to participate in democracy. Human rights also need to be taken care of and to be followed, as per our country’s Constitution.
Daizy Atieno, Kenya
Daizy is a 15-year-old student in Grade 7 at Migosi Primary School in Kisumu, Kenya.
The strongest female leader in this country is Shebesh, a female representative in Nairobi who is generous to people. Shebesh does not like corruption. She fights for our right. She has built schools for pupils and has sponsored children whose parents are unable to provide. If there were no leaders in our country, the males would always be our leaders. We should allow females to be leaders, for them to feel accepted in our society.
If we had strong elected female leaders, we would have a better life. They would have provided sanitary towels to girls. They would have eliminated drug abuse. Female leaders are very important in society. They would fight for girls’ rights. They would have given counseling to parents, that parents should not be shy when they want to be leaders.
We should change things so that girls and boys are both able to go to school. Girls should be taken to school, not only boys. Girls are supposed to have self-esteem so that they can be strong leaders. There should be no discrimination in society. It is not supposed to be male leaders only. Government should change the system of only boys being leaders.