Women in Africa are not generally found in leadership positions. Research shows that women are not perceived to have the skills, knowledge or social status needed to bring about meaningful change in post-conflict environments.
However this notion might soon change following the launch of a series “Ms. President”. The television series that seeks to start debate about the concept of “women as leaders” in Kenya by showcasing articulate, intelligent, fair-minded women who are “presidential candidates”.
The show’s supporters hope “Ms. President” will also increase the chances of women in Kenya being called upon to take on leadership positions.
“We are not looking for beauty queens we are looking for women who are leaders. It’s not just putting women on TV but putting them though leadership training and mentorship” said Frenny Jowi, Project Office, Media Focus on Africa.
In Kenya, women groups have been on the forefront fighting for equal gender representation in a number of sectors including government. Despite the two thirds gender rule provision in the constitution of Kenya 2010, Kenya continues to trail other African nations when it comes to placing women in power.
Women make up only 22 percent of Kenya’s National Assembly. That’s well below the 30 percent constitutional requirement. Women representation in the Senate is 31 percent and only 6 percent of Governors in Kenya are women.
The inspiration to come up with the “Ms. President” reality series in Kenya which is produced by Media Focus on Africa (MFA) is said to have originated from the Palestinian Ma’aan Television Network’s highly popular program “The President”, which involved choosing a young Palestinian to be the next Palestinian President.
Kenya’s Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender representatives were at the launch earlier on Tuesday.
“The women who make it into the programme must be the best version of us. We would like to work with all the women that will apply for the program as the Ministry of Gender” – Lydiah Mathia, advisor to CS Ministry of Gender Kenya.
EU Ambassador Stefano Dejak represented the European Union at Tuesday’s launch. The EU is funding the show which is being produced by Media Focus on Africa.
“No human society is fully developed without women taking the central place. Women need to prepare for power,” he said.
The TV series will have 26 episodes and the producers hope it will empower women and girls to become key players in preventing the spread of violent extremism and radicalisation while establishing and increasing dialogue between civil society actors, media practitioners, local and national conflict resolution and peace-building groups and government officials.
Those interested in the series have been encouraged to fill in their forms that can be downloaded online via http://www.mediafocusonafrica.org/project/ms-president
The applications will close on July 27th 2018. Applicants can also express interest by accessing forms from the producing organization, Media Focus on Africa through firstname.lastname@example.org.