Nairobi, 11 August 2020-Statistics from the UN indicate that at least 200 million girls and women alive today have had their genitals mutilated – suffering one of the most inhumane acts of gender-based violence in the world.
Reverend Timothy Njoya, a retired Minister of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa and a leading advocate for justice and human rights in Kenya has today launched a book on women’s rights to bodily autonomy.
Titled: Selfhood; Divinity of the Clitoris, the book focuses on women’s right to control their own bodies by calling an end to oppressive practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). By highlighting his own mother’s experience in the journey to realizing ‘selfhood’ (a state where a woman repositions herself outside the context of traditionally set gender and cultural norms); the book showcases the story of Wandia, the first Kikuyu woman to openly escape FGM to pursue education.
Speaking during the launch, Rev. Njoya was quick to reiterate the role of religion in pushing for gender equality by openly advocating for women’s rights especially in a world where religion has often been used to permeate inequality. ‘’The clitoris is divine because it manifests God’s likeliness in the human form. God created both male and female in his likeness as one and equal, ‘’ he said while reading an excerpt of the book.
The book launched in partnership with Hivos East Africa’s Voice Program, seeks to champion women’s right to dignity and free choice to make decisions about their sexuality without influence from patriarchal cultures. This includes advocacy to create awareness of a woman’s fundamental right to equality and privacy when it comes to matters pertaining to physical and psychological integrity- according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
‘’Hivos believes that women and girls should have control over their lives and are able to participate actively in social, political and economic domains. Women’s empowerment is about realizing true equality for men and women,’’ said Mendi Njonjo, Regional Director of Hivos East Africa.
The book will equally be used by academia and the civil society to pursue narratives on equality particularly on women’s integrity and dignity.
About Voice Program
Jointly executed by Hivos and Oxfam Novib, Voice is a grant facility by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Netherlands that offers grants for grass-root groups and organizations that have difficulty getting funding and that represent or support: people living with disability; LGBTI+ people; women facing exploitation, abuse and/or violence; age discriminated groups like the young and elderly; indigenous groups, and ethnic minorities.