Women Leading Transformation in Africa, says Zuri Foundation CEO Norah Muthoni

Women are now taking the lead in the transformation of  Africa as the continent makes tremendous progress driving gender parity. Speaking during the 2022 Zuri Awards ceremony, Zuri Foundation Chief Executive Officer Norah Muthoni Mumo said the past three years have seen an increase in women participation towards societal transformation in various fields among them political leadership, senior managerial positions, entrepreneurship, as well as sports and culture.  

“More women are now in political leadership positions; women in corporate boards in Kenya stand at 36 per cent, exceeding the global average of 23 per cent. There are now more women leading SMEs and building brands that are changing lives,” she explained. 

Mumo however noted that despite the improvement, gender inequality still remains high across the continent in world comparison. 

Accelerating progress towards gender parity could boost African economies by the equivalent of 10 percent of their collective GDP by 2025. 

“Women and adolescent girls are the most vulnerable group in Kenya. Their poverty levels especially at the household and community are exacerbated by gender-based violence, harmful cultural attitudes and beliefs around gender roles, norms and female empowerment. Limited control over benefits from land and other resources constrains women’s successful participation in the economy, particularly as producers and market actors. Women’s unpaid childcare and domestic work limits their contribution and benefit from productive activities, constrain their mobility, and limit their access to market resources and information while participating in the economy,” Mumo noted. 

15 women were awarded at the 2022 Zuri Awards Ceremony in various categories that include: agriculture, innovation, STEM, humanitarian, arts & culture, media, renewable energy, manufacturing, public service,sports, health care, young achiever, finance, business and education.  

The award received over 250 submissions with three women nominated in each category.  The nominees went through a thorough vetting process that included training and pitching to a panel of jurors who made the final decision.  

Among the winners of the night were Athena Morgen the founder of  DigiSpace Safety who was awarded the innovation award while  Judie Kihumba scooped the healthcare award. 

Amina Haider the founder of JIKO Manufacturing Incubation Facility took the manufacturing award as Sharon Korir won the humanitarian award for helping women suffering from Fistula in Kenya. Ruth Samoei was recognised in the public service category for her role in facilitating disadvantaged deaf communities to favourably compete for available business opportunities in an already saturated market.

In the young achievers category, Marie Claire Wangari was awarded for her work at  Reproductive and Sexual health Programme for Kenyan Teenagers (RESPEKT) while Rukia Sebit was honoured in the education category.

Other winners include Annrose Gathara in the Agriculture Category, Ellie Lalaikipiain in the Arts and Culture category, Nasenyana Adoket in the finance category, Anna Gaitha in the business category, Deborah Kisongochi, Ann Nyakinyua Gathura in the STEM category and Rael Otieno in the sports category. 

 “Zuri Awards’ celebration of excellence among the unsung names, across the 15 categories is progress  towards how the world should and can be. It’s the recognition of the gut feeling that says, ‘You don’t  have to wait for the world to start, you have the vision to create the narrative.’ Everyone in this room  is a winner because you all took the first step towards progress and making a difference,” said Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Service and Gender. 

The 2022 Awards had a new category  dubbed digital resilience award, sponsored by Meta. The award sought to recognize women business owners who pivoted to digital during the Covid-19 pandemic. Naom Monari won this category. 

Other award partners include EABL, Tusker Malt , Tanqueray, Safaricom , Citizen,Hot 96 , Radio ,Junction , NRSA ,  UN Women , EU , and Multichoice.  

Zuri Awards was inaugurated six years ago and has had over 600 submissions, 125 Nominees, 52 Honorees, KES 20 Million raised, 10 Trade Linkages and 15 Award Categories.  

Zuri Foundation was founded by Go Gaga Experiential in 2021 , with the aim of championing women change-makers through Zuri Awards, trade linkages, training and mentorship, fundraising and women launchPad. 

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