YWCA Kenya joined other feminist movements in Kenya to advocate for legislative reforms aimed at combating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the country. The escalating number of killings and abuses against women and young women in Kenya has prompted feminists and women’s rights organisations to unite in solidarity, advocacy, and action. They called for legislative reforms and demanded that the Government unequivocally recognise femicide as a crime, urging for heavier penalties for perpetrators.
On January 27, 2024, YWCA Kenya, a WRO under the YW4A programme dedicated to supporting young women to lead change and raise awareness of women’s issues, mobilized its membership, which includes women and young women, to join the nationwide movement under the hashtag #TotalShutDownKe. The march, which resonated across major counties in Kenya, brought together young women under the banner of #WeAreNotSafe #EndFemicideKe. It served as a poignant reminder of the urgent need to address the pervasive issue of femicide and gender-based violence in society, especially following the tragic death of a 20-year-old young woman who was killed and dismembered in a short-let apartment in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
The resounding call for action continues to reverberate beyond the march. YWCA Kenya, in a social media post, passionately declared, “Enough is enough,” echoing the collective refusal to accept femicide as a grim reality in Kenya. Feminists in Kenya are resolute in their demand for justice and a future where women and girls are celebrated, not endangered.
Following the event, YWCA Kenya hosted a discussion on X-spaces (formerly Twitter-spaces), amplifying the discourse around femicide and its devastating impact on communities. The organization facilitated critical conversations on the urgent need to strengthen laws as a deterrent against femicide and as a shield for survivors scarred by trauma. Through such online and offline events, YWCA Kenya provides platforms for engaging stakeholders, advocating for legislative reforms, and mobilizing collective action to end femicide in Kenya.
The YW4A initiative is committed to creating awareness of laws aimed at protecting women, such as domestic legislation like the Sexual Offences Act, which specifically prohibits violence targeting women, and international agreements that Kenya has embraced to combat gender-based violence, such as the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.