MALE LAWMAKERS IN KENYA NEED TO RESPECT WOMEN AND MOTHERHOOD

It is a shame that male lawmakers in Kenya cannot uphold the rights of women and especially those who are mothers and their breast feeding needs for their new born babies. Taking into consideration that a large percentage of new mothers work outside the home in the year after giving birth, employment should not be a barrier to a woman’s economic contribution to her family as she does her fair share of contributing to the country’s development balancing work and motherhood. The unfortunate reality is that social norms are a barrier to women who breastfeed especially in public spaces or within institutions. Most people will frown upon and discriminate against breastfeeding mothers as being inappropriate forgetting that it is a very natural process and critical to a child’s growth. A case in point is the Kwale Women’s Representative, Zuleikha Hassan, who took her baby with her to a sitting at the National Assembly and ended up being kicked out of the house because “strangers” are not allowed in the house and this includes children. This was a great travesty on the part of the lawmakers who purport to uphold the rights of the citizenry and cannot do so for one of their own. Why would the speaker ridicule a fellow leader and basically criminalize her for having a baby. If anything, her going with the baby showed her commitment as a leader and the need to play her role in parliament. Parliament should be the pace setter on ensuring women’s rights are upheld. They cannot preach what they do not practice, hence the reason laws that affect gender equality never see the light of day. Women are good at multitasking as evidenced by the Kwale Women Representative’s actions’ to ensure she did what she was elected to do as well as take care of her child. It is high time women are accorded respect for the double work they put in building the nation. Parliament and other work places should have designated spaces for women to take their children to work. This increases productivity since the mother’s mind is at peace with regards to her child’s wellbeing. Shame on the male lawmakers for criminalizing motherhood, disrespecting women and their nurturing role and most of all taking lightly the Kwale Women’s Representative commitment to her work.