Gender equity now no longer an agenda for the current government. In an effort to draft a gender blind finance bill 2023, all strides made in the fight for gender equity to go down the drain.
Contradictory to the campaign strategy implored by the Kenya Kwanza government, gender equity is a non-factor to them. Many provisions in the current budget impede progress already attained in the movement for equity.
First, excessive taxation on micro-enterprises places a unique burden on women. Many micro-enterprises are owned by women today. This is after empowerment through agencies offering women entrepreneurs for micro businesses a lower interest rate to setup businesses. The current bill directly targets the women in these sectors who are predominant.
There’s also the beauty industry that has been taken over by the finance bill. Heavy taxation has been placed on beauty products such as make-up, wigs, and weaves among many others. In an effort to make money, many women are reliant on the beauty industry as their source of income. Hugh taxation means less purchase of products and reduced visits to the salon. By extension, these women in the industry receive no money or employment and are handed back to financial insecurity.
The taxation introduced by the finance bill is bad for the country as a whole. The women, however, are bound to suffer the most and bear the financial burden imposed by the bill.
The correlation between gender equity and reduced GBV
With gender equity, more women were able to get employment, seek careers and get financial autonomy. By extension, their husbands no longer abused them because they either had the liberty to leave whenever they could or they were no longer squashed by the man’s dominance.
With the current financial time, women are losing their source of freedom. Many will be laid off or have to close businesses due to heavy taxation and slow business. Reliance on their husbands restart and so will GBV.
Another contributor to GBV was anger caused by frustrations. Women are bound to be the recipients of the repercussions of the high cost of living. People will no longer be paid an equal amount as before. Food will be more expensive to buy. Stress and anxiety will be the norm of the day for a few people. This directly sets the stage for the continuation of domestic violence as an outlet for any discomfort caused.
The government, however, proposed an allocation of Ksh 250 million to help tighten the prevention of GBV. This, however, treats the symptoms and not the disease itself. The current financial situation sets the stage for GBV to occur, failing on the preventive goal.
In a progressive world, some would look away from the patriarchy that stinks from the finance bill 2023—their disregard for gender equity and its importance in the world today. Cancelling out the people who contribute a majority to society will in turn hurt the country held so precious.
The most in need, however, will have to remain at the bottom of the barrel. There’s no room for gender equity in a ‘gender-blind’. They are now to suffer the biggest financial burden after passing the finance bill 2023.