Media personality Janet Mbugua named international gender champion
Kenyan media personality Janet Mbugua, who is the Founder of Inua Dada Foundation, has been named an International Gender Champion (IGC).
She joins an esteemed leadership network that brings together female and male decision-makers determined to break down gender barriers and make gender equality a working reality in their spheres of influence.
“I hold the firm belief that when everyone is included, everyone wins and this is the only way we can ensure that gender equity and economic empowerment programs continue being prioritized across the social and political spectrum,” she said.
Through Inua Dada Foundation, Janet and her team work to identify issues that affect the attendance and performance of primary school girls in Kenya such as lack of sanitary towels; suitable sanitation facilities and access to basic health care and support services.
The organization was endorsed by First Lady of Kenya Margaret Kenyatta and seeks to influence policy as well as advocate for the protection of rights of the girl child.
Janet Mbugua was named as an IGC because of her pledge to actively engage in gender equality advocacy through mainstream and social media and amplify the work of fellow gender champions.
Also highlighted was her commitment towards mentorship over 250 young people on gender equality and action against Gender Based Violence, by enhancing and building their advocacy skills and supporting them to develop appropriate gender equality programs within their communities.
IGC was co-founded by former UN Geneva Director-General Michael Møller, former US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Pamela Hamamoto and Women@TheTable CEO/Founder Caitlin Kraft-Buchman in 2015.
The network has over 250 active Champions and 160 Alumni who are the heads of International Organizations, Permanent Missions, and Civil Society Organizations.
Some of them include António Guterres (Secretary-General, United Nations); Winnie Byanyima (Executive Director, UNAIDS); Zainab Hawa Bangura (Director-General, United Nations Office in Nairobi); Fatou Bensouda (Prosecutor, International Criminal Court); Barry Kashambo (Regional Director, International Civil Aviation Organization); Stephen Omollo (Regional Director, World Vision, East Africa Region) among others.
Janet Mbugua’s nomination comes on the backdrop of the Generation Equality Forum where she was featured alongside Ellen Sirleaf Johnson (former Liberian President), Melinda Gates (American philanthropist and a former general manager at Microsoft), Julia Gillard (former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard) and other world leaders.
The forum focused on how to rebuild better by implementing bold new agendas and making tangible commitments that will improve the lives of girls and women, boys and men.
Mary Robinson (First woman President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) said: “COVID-19 has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities and threatened to halt and even reverse the gains of decades of collective effort. We should seize this opportunity to address the injustices laid bare by the pandemic.”
Angélique Kidjo (Beninese-American singer-songwriter, actress, and activist) affirmed that a lot is still at stake and so much has been lost when it comes to women and girls rights and equality. She called for ‘real and measurable pathways to change, opportunity, justice and equality’.
Former PM Julia Gillard stated: “The COVID pandemic has cost women’s jobs, increased pressures at home, jeopardized girls education but it has also created opportunities for profound change. Generation Equality gives us the opportunity to articulate a clear agenda for building back better and creating a more gender equal world.”
Melinda Gates averred that as governments begin to rebuild their economies, they need to put women at the very centre of their response. “That’s the only way we are going to come out of this pandemic stronger, more prepared and more equal,” she said.
Janet Mbugua added: “Funding needs to be put behind these kinds of causes for things to finally begin to take shape.”
The Generation Equality Forum is a global gathering for gender equality, convened by UN Women and co-chaired by France and Mexico, with the close partnership of civil society organizations.
It is a global public conversation for urgent action and accountability for gender equality and seeks to celebrate the power of women’s rights activism, feminist solidarity and youth leadership to achieve transformative change.