#EmbraceEquity is the campaign slogan for International Women’s Day 2023. Kenya has moved forward in advancing gender equality in recent years with laws on domestic violence, sexual offences, encouraging funding for women led businesses and increasing representation of women in public and elective offices. These are all laudable but unless you get to the grass roots of problems, change will take a long time. Power Of Pads is working at that grass roots level to address some of these inequalities.
Although the main aim of Power Of Pads is to provide menstrual hygiene packs to school girls, our model of funding small local businesses run by women, to make reusable washable pads, offers them the opportunity to have an income and improve their quality of life and help them to embrace equity.
Women and adolescent girls are the most vulnerable groups in Kenya, especially in rural areas. They face many challenges, one third of girls suffers some form of sexual violence before the age of 18 and one in four become a child bride. Beliefs around gender roles and norms are hard to change in a community. At the household level collecting water daily from a borehole and collecting wood for cooking fall to girls which reduces the time they can spend in full time education. Add to these issues those of menstruation and availability of hygiene products and it is easy to see why girls frequently fail to achieve their potential. The slogan ‘if you can’t see it, you can’t be it’ is so true, which is why it is vital that girls and boys, men and women, see girls succeeding in school and developing the skills needed to secure jobs that will benefit their families and their communities.