A Letter To Ms Girl Child


My Daughter, 
The international day of the girl is here again with us. This day is designated to highlight your special needs and challenges that you face, promote your empowerment and the fulfillment of your human rights. This year, we have gone a step further to be bold enough to honor your brilliance, your agency and voice through the Theme: Girl Force: Unscripted and unstoppable. 

It has been years since we began this fight. The fight towards gender equal societies has been here before either of us were born. The fight will continue even after we pass on. According to statistics , it will take one hundred years more years before we get what we rightfully deserve. However 25 years ago, you my daughter and the needs and challenges you face were enshrined as a critical area of concern through the Beijing Platform for Action. My daughter, this is the most comprehensive policy agenda on gender equality, women and girls empowerment. Coupled with the Convention of the Rights of the child, specifically addressing your rights, we have enough ammunition to continue fighting and reclaim your rightful place in society. 

My daughter, we want to acknowledge that we have failed you beyond acceptable proportions. In Kenya, 378,397 of your counterparts aged 10 and 19 years became pregnant between July 2016 and June 2017. In 2018, about 13,000 of your fellow agemates dropped out of school due to unplanned pregnancy. My daughter, we know that our cultures have deemed you to be a subject of torture through practice such as female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriages. We are making progress but not fast enough, moving from 27% to 21% is still not enough and we promise to do better. Luckily for this one, our president His Excellency has put himself on the frontline and he too has crossed over to be on your Side. In July, in a room full of 5000 people from across the world. President Kenyatta promised to end FGM in Kenya by 2022. We shall do all we can to hold him accountable 
You should have seen us those days. We started out by begging, pleading while crawling on our knees like sojourners in a dessert looking and thirsting for just a drop of water. We begged to work, we pleaded to vote, we begged to own property… It has not been easy, my girl. But it is for both your and my sake that we continue this fight. We soldier on because we see the Utopian future that fills our eyes every time we close our eyes crying out the pain of injustices we endure. 

The strategy is now slowly changing. We do not want to plead anymore. We are taking the radical shift and we are demanding our space and rights. We are claiming everything that our oppressors hold on to. We mobilize ourselves, we march on streets with our placards, we speak up, we clench our fists ready to brace for the fight, we hold each others hands and lean in when things get tough: We are ready for the times presented to us taste and feel the rush of liberation from our oppressors. 

Commitments made to us decades later are still unmet. Globally 12 Million girls are in forced marriage; 130 million girls are out of school and 15 million girls have experienced forced sex. This has defined our work, to ensure that promises made to us are fulfilled 

Sadly, the backlash is like a splash of cold water on a chilly morning. And one of the most common arguments is the boy child narrative. They tell us we don’t deserve better. That we are taking away what belongs to the boy child. They tell us that we will have no one to marry us if the boy child is not empowered just as we are. They ask us not to sit in the driver’s seat, and they tell us where to drive. They slap us when we speak out and victimize us afterwards for not “sticking to our place as women.” They blame us when we undergo violence. Can you imagine that they tell us that it is our fault when we are raped? My daughter, I have started the conversation on mapping sexual harassment. 

As we talk right now am already on the ground running so that I can bring back the 2016 sexual offence bill that legislatures had thrown out claiming that the issues were raised raised did not have flesh. I spend sleepless nights as I read what you have placed in the talking boxes about the perpetrators who are running Scot free and continue to sexually harass you as your relieve the daily struggles of living as a survivor who is not believed and for whom it takes years to get justice.. Darling you should not be ashamed as your body blossoms, the changes in your body are a sign that you are growing and no one should use it to sexually harass you. I promise you that I will not relent on this journey of pinning the creeps. Because along with the 1 in 3 women and girls who shall face violence in their lifetime, there are countless sisters, brothers and comrades committed to end violence against women and girls in all its forms everywhere 

In a patriarchal World that continues to crush your spirit, you have shown that you can still go ahead and break boundaries and ceilings. However, your excellence should not be an exception but as a result of accessing equal opportunities. I therefore encourage you to continue standing tall, being strong, and to raise your voice even louder for the fight is not worn until every commitment made to us is fulfilled.  

This day is for you my daughter, we shall celebrate you boldly, without relent and without shame. Until all of us are free. Happy International Day of the Girl 

Yours for the long haul, 

Committed, dedicated and fierce gender advocates, activists and feminists,

Dr. Rose Oluoch 
Ms Olive Kabisa 
Ms Catherine Nyambura 
Ms Beatrice Otawa 
Ms Jackline Milanya 




SDGs Kenya Forum, KEFEADO, PDP