By IRENE MBANGA

A new platform namely the African Women for Biosciences (AWfB) Kenya Chapter was recently launched in Nairobi. The platform seeks to address the challenge of women being under- represented in leadership and decision making preventing them from contributing to national development through scientific research.

AWfB is a network of women with interest and passion in Science, Technology, and Innovation. It aims to play a significant role in strengthening the capacity of African women to engage in biosciences and policy dialogue for sustainable livelihoods.

According to Prof Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, the network will provide a unique platform to share experiences and critical learning in scientific research and innovations.

“This is a very welcome initiative and will serve to compliment government’s effort in women empowerment, especially so for the many marginalized women living in rural areas, who in reality bear the biggest burden of underdevelopment,” said Prof Kobia.

The country has taken a step to encourage girls to venture in fields of technology, science, engineering and mathematics to bridge the gap of gender inequality. This is after realizing that women play a big role in the country’s development.

Moreover, for the achievement of the ‘Big Four’ agenda scientific research, data and statistics are needed.  The involvement of women and the youth in science is also very essential.

“As you may be aware, women are the backbone of agriculture sector where they contribute over 80 percent of labor force. Further, women bear the burden of food security and nutrition for their families, a role that is often hampered by lack of timely dependence and relevant data and statistics mainly because available data is not gender sensitive,” She added.

Being the pillars of agriculture, women are better suited to understand their fellow women problems. Therefore, this scientific body led by women will be able to research on the pressing issues that have previously been ignored, to help empower women in areas of gender inequality.

Prof Kobia also promised that the ministry will work hand in hand with AWfB and provide the necessary platforms for exchange of knowledge and learning. She further advised women to work in partnership with other groups so as to grow and learn more.

All women interested in science, technology and innovation can now smile and embrace this wonderful platform established to boost them to higher levels. You have a lot to learn plus you now can use your research findings to help the society and contribute to the country’s development.

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