Plea to private sector Kenya to advance girls’ economic participation

The Girls Advocacy Alliance has launched its research report Safely Engaged: Addressing Gender-Based Violence and Economic Exclusion of Girls and Young Women in Kenya - Public and Private Sector Practices in a seminar focusing on issues that girls and young women face in their attempt to economically participate to their full potential in society. The private sector both formal and informal lacks adequate responses to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and economic exclusion of girls, according to the report.

Kinderrechten

While appreciating the actions taken to advance girls’ economic participation, both by businesses and by government, the research established lack of structured, comprehensive approaches across the whole sector. Adoption, translation, and implementation by the private sector of relevant frameworks to address GBV and economic exclusion of girls, both at the national and county levels, is at best ad hoc, inconsistent, and unregulated.

Gender-Based Violence

Weak enforcement mechanisms and inadequate resources for implementing gender policies and laws, in fact perpetuate GBV. The report establishes that sexual harassment is the most common form of GBV at workplaces. GBV is a fundamental human rights violation and a barrier in promoting sustainable development and reduce poverty, says Girls Advocacy Alliance.

UN Global Compact

The private sector should recognise GBV as a priority issue to promote sustainable development and reduce poverty. Moreover, the private sector should universally adopt the UN Global Compact Business and Human Rights principles, urges Girls Advocacy Alliance. Other recommendations from the report focus on the government at both county and national level.

Informal sector

The launch event brought together girl advocates, girls rights champions, politicians, private sector representatives, child rights as well as civil society organisations and was graced by Guest of Honour Lady Justice (Rtd) Effie Owuor and Bondo MP Dr. Gideon Ochanda. “Let us come up with formulations that will help the formal and Jua Cali [informal] sector to address the issues raised in this report. More concentration should be on the informal sector- this is where most cases of Gender Based Violence and Economic Exclusion happen," according to Lady Justice Owuor.

Girls Advocacy Alliance

The Girls Advocacy Alliance is a five year lobby and advocacy programme jointly implemented by three Netherlands based organisations Plan Netherlands, Terre des Hommes Netherlands and Defence for Children-ECPAT Netherlands, in strategic partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Dutch Government (under the Dialogue and Dissent - Strategic Partnerships framework). The Girls Advocacy Alliance strives for equal rights and opportunities for girls and young women.

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