UN urges Kenya to advance gender equality to boost economic growth

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A Kenyan worker wears a dust mask as she works at the Hela intimates export processing zone (EPZ) limited factory in Athi River, near Nairobi, Kenya, July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
A Kenyan worker wears a dust mask as she works at the Hela intimates export processing zone (EPZ) limited factory in Athi River, near Nairobi, Kenya, July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

The United Nations wants Kenya to advance gender equality in order to boost economic growth.

UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya Siddharth Chatterjee told a women forum in Nairobi on Monday that Kenya has already made strides in reducing gender inequality but more progress is required.

“Kenya needs to fully empower women so that the country can realize high economic growth and development,” Chatterjee said during the Timeless Women Conference.

The three-day event aims to connect women enterprises in Africa with global and industry players.

Chatterjee said an economy cannot perform at optimal levels if half of the population is excluded from gainful economic activity.

He noted that it is crucial for governments to ensure that women are fully involved in the workforce by removing barriers that hold back women from achieving their full potential.

He called on men to fight for the advancement of women rights for the betterment of society.

Chatterjee, who is also the UN Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative to Kenya, added that women have to be empowered from the national level to the household level.

He noted that every year, sub-Saharan Africa loses 95 billion U.S. dollars due to gender inequality.

The UN official added that when women and girls are empowered they have control over their bodies and can decide when to have children.

“This is fundamental as it enables women to gain skills and join the labor force so as to contribute to the economic well-being of society,” he said.

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