In 2004,Kenya stood proud as the late Wangaari Maathai, a well-known environmental and political activist, became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. This was just another addition to her list of 'firsts' as she had also been the first East African woman to receive a PhD in 1971. Maathai worked against myths within her continent and culture that had barred women from achieving higher education, and made it seem as if women were only good for housekeeping. She is just one of countless Kenyan women and leaders who continues to blaze the trail, showing the world and succeeding generations just how much more a woman can be and do.
This year, as we join the world in celebrating the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day, we share with you stories of women, some in their prime and some just getting started, from different ages and walks of life, who have defied the myths that exist in their worlds, to arise and achieve all they yearned for in different spheres of their lives; in sports, health, education, career etc. These stories are not just of women, but of men too, as the two have worked together through the years to dispel these myths. The stories were deliberately selected to show that in as much as women have made huge gains in the last century to have their rights recognized, they have not been without the help of their male counterparts; they will also continue to do better while maintaining that partnership. We also included two facts that disapprove each myth!
Another Kenyan woman is named as one of the Mythbusters. She is Peninah Nthenya Musyimi, a lawyer and founder of Safe Spaces organisation, a slum based girls' sports and lifeskills organisation. Peninah is also the recepient of CARE's prominent 2011 'I Am Powerful' award. Peninah overcame immense challenges growing up in Nairobi's Mathare slums, the oldest of her siblings, and had to walk 16 kilometres to school daily, and doing casual work (washing her neighbours' clothes and dishes) to make some money for food. She eventually won a basketball scholarship that put her through university where she studied law. Her dream was to be a lawyer, to speak up for the vulnerable girls who share a similar background, but she is doing more. She is empowering them through lifeskills and vocational training, giving them greater chances at making it.
CARE works with amazing women and men everyday who dispel myths in their lives. We are always inspired by their sometimes simple actions that can cause massive ripple effects and create positive changes in their communities. This International Women's Day, CARE celebrates their achievements, as well as those of the people who have helped them, along with the women and men outlined in the Myth Busting document - be inspired!
To read the report, Click Here.
Check out the videos below to find out more about our myth-busting heroes!