Pokot women call for gender equity, crackdown on FGM

Pokot women during International Women's Day celebrations in Tiaty constituency on Friday, March 8, 2019. /JOSEPH KANGOGO
Pokot women during International Women's Day celebrations in Tiaty constituency on Friday, March 8, 2019. /JOSEPH KANGOGO

Gender equality remains a pipe dream, Pokot women from Baringo, Tiaty subcounty, have said.

They urged the government to crack down on retrogressive practices in the region including FGM, early marriage and cattle rustling.

"It is unfortunate that in this century, the majority of our Pokot women and girls are still being treated like sources of wealth (in form of dowry) and mere sex objects. We need gender equality like yesterday," Tangulbei Women Network chairperson Mary Kuket said on Friday during International Women's Day celebrations.

She urged the government to improve infrastructure in the school by putting up modern schools and health facilities.

FGM is rampant in the region in August and December despite it being illegal.

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Teenage girls are married off to old men, many times with their parents approval in exchange for cattle.

"That is why our people have refused to end the menace of cattle rustling. They seem to practice it in order to pay the exorbitant dowry," Kuket said.

Kuket also urged MPs to push for the passing of the Gender bill to enhance equal rights for men and women.

"In Kenya, we have not even tasted to see what gender equality looks like," she said.

Tiaty East deputy county commissioner Silver Barasa said the government will continue to crack down on FGM.

He warned those who carry out the practice will be arrested.