Kenya: Women Nominees to Break Glass Ceiling

Former diplomat Raychelle Omamo has been nominated for Minister of Defense, a first for a woman in Kenya's historically male cabinet. She is one of six women nominated for a cabinet position by President Uhuru Kenyatta this term. (Google Images)

Former diplomat Raychelle Omamo has been nominated for Minister of Defense, a first for a woman in Kenya’s historically male cabinet. She is one of six women nominated for a cabinet position by President Uhuru Kenyatta this term. (Google Images)

Brian Ngugi of AllAfrica.com is reporting that Kenya’s nominees for cabinet secretary positions include an unprecedented number of women. Six out of 18 nominees are women, which is a first for the nation whose cabinets are historically male.  All of the candidates underwent a public vetting process by the Parliamentary Committee on Appointments Thursday.

Despite the appointments – which are yet to be confirmed – women’s rights organizations in the East African nation say President Uhuru Kenyatta’s new government must do more to seriously mainstream gender issues in the country.

Kenyatta made history on Apr. 25, when he nominated six women to the cabinet – the highest number the country has had since independence.

The nominees include former diplomat Raychelle Omamo, who is nominated to head the Ministry of Defense, a position that has never before been held by a woman.

Anne Waiguru, an economic and public policy expert, is expected to head the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, which will coordinate the implementation of Kenya’s new devolved system of government in 47 counties.

Charity Ngilu, a former government minister, was nominated to head the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development; Phyllis Kandie, an investment banker, was nominated to head the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism; and Judy Wakhungu, a former associate professor of science, technology, and society at Pennsylvania State University, was tapped to head the Ministry of Environment, Water and National Resources.

On Apr. 23, Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto had announced the nomination of Amina Mohamed as the first woman to head the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Read more at AllAfrica.com.

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