Toronto, Canada – Tuesday, November 9 2021
On Saturday November 6, 2021, the Kenyan Canadian Association (KCA) hosted its fifth and final webinar in their high-impact series addressing gender inequality and gender-based violence: Gender Equality and UN Women’s HeForShe. This webinar series has been supported by funding from the Government of Canada through the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Safer + Stronger COVID-19 Emergency Grants.
KCA, a proud champion of the UN Women’s HeForShe initiative, hosted an interactive webinar featuring keynote panelist, UN Women’s Global Head of HeForShe, Edward Wageni, a long-time advocate for the social and economic empowerment of women and girls around the world.
The panel also included presentations from Brian Anderson, Executive Director of Fathering Together and Jake Stika, Executive Director of Next Gen Men. The event was hosted by Fatma Nadhir, Director of Social and Economic Empowerment at KCA, with an informative presentation from KCA’s President and Executive Director, Ephraim Mwaura.
Opening the discussion on gender equality, KCA President Ephraim Mwaura detailed the programs and initiatives that KCA has created as part of efforts to build greater gender equality and eradicate gender-based violence. Speaking on KCA’s continued commitment to gender equality and building on the HeForShe campaign; Mr. Mwaura spoke about KCA’s work implementing strategies that engage men and boys as allies for the empowerment of women and girls. He also shared that over 90% of KCA’s direct food aid program beneficiaries are women who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Mwaura affirmed KCA’s commitment to combating these negative effects by uplifting women and families out of poverty and into financial independence, through food aid programs, scholarship opportunities for women and future economic security initiatives.
The keynote speaker, UN Women HeForShe Global Head Edward Wageni spoke about the creation and launch of the HeForShe initiative and the steps that have been taken to enact systemic change for gender equity. He noted that in North America, society is still far from achieving gender equality. To address this, HeForShe is focused on engaging world leaders, major corporations, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions to invest in the empowerment of women and girls. HeForShe specifically calls in men and boys and people of all genders to stand in solidarity for gender equality. Mr. Wageni stated that, “Gender equality is not just about women and girls. We need to move to action. Looking at what men and boys can do to make a difference.” He also recognized KCA’s contributions in spearheading a conversation online, bringing together men, community leaders, and stakeholders for gender equality.
Brian Anderson who is the Executive Director of Fathering Together, a community-based organization with the goal of dismantling harmful gender stereotypes by engaging fathers to work within their families and communities to redefine gender norms, spoke about the need for creating community and online spaces that foster support for father figures in positive ways.
Next Gen Men, an organization that is working in schools and communities with young men and boys as well as in workplaces and businesses, to build awareness and facilitate education that breaks down gender stereotypes, promotes an end to gender-based violence and fosters greater gender equality was represented by the Executive Director, Jake Stika. In his presentation, he highlighted the work his organization is doing to reduce harm and create safer spaces, through systemic changes:
“When we talk about male allyship, you know we cannot be talking about how women should [only] be protected without actually talking about power structures at play as to why women experience the things that they do.”
In his submission, City of Brampton Mayor, His Worship Patrick Brown, applauded KCA’s efforts in promoting gender qquality as something special about the organization. He also noted that the City of Brampton’s council is working towards promoting gender equity even further within the city.
The webinar provided an informative and inclusive space to discuss the reduction of toxic masculinity, the achievement of gender equality and worldwide efforts to eliminate harmful gender stereotypes and uplift women and girls.
We have also listed some of the resources shared in the webinar:
- UN Women HeForSHe: https://www.heforshe.org/
- Fathering Together: www.fatheringtogether.org/
- Next Gen Men: https://www.nextgenmen.ca/
If you’d like to catch up on past webinars, access the recorded video on the Kenyan Canadian Associations YouTube channel
The KCA is dedicated to implementing programs and offering services to Black, other racialized communities, and socially excluded groups residing in Canada.