Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) Chief Executive Officer Frank Matsaert today led his staff in signing up as HeForShe champions in an event jointly organized by UN Women Kenya and Trade Mark East Africa. The event is a build up to the International Women’s Day 2016 celebrations and the theme of the event was ‘Spark a change…engage differently!’
The event took place in the TMEA Boardroom and was attended by Karin Andersson TMEA Council Chair, Patricia Ithau, TMEA board member and TMEA staff in Nairobi. TMEA staff in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda joined by video conference.
In his remarks, Mr Matsaert noted that the role of gender in trade relations cannot be over emphasized. It applies in small business all the way to boardrooms. He publicly committed to upholding gender equality principles within TMEA and in all its programmes emphasizing that TMEA wants to be the leading and most gender sensitive institution on trade in Africa.
(L – R): Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) Chief Executive Officer Frank Matsaert and (right) Patricia Ithau TMEA board member signs up as a HeForShe Champion,
During the panel discussion, Zebib Kavuma, UN Women Country Director noted that there must be deliberate action to close the gender gap by 2030. ‘We are called to action to provide equal access, opportunities and representation’ she noted.
Karin Andersson TMEA Council Chair, underlined the need for systematic policies to address women issues. ‘The plans should be long term as quick fixes do not work’ she said.
Patricia Ithau a board member at TMEA noted that women are well represented until middle level management. Then there is a disconnect and they do not rise to leadership positions. She encouraged men to champion women’s empowerment and one way is by speaking out for them and encouraging them.
Joseph Mwangala joined the panel from Uganda via video conference and informed us of their support for women in cross border trade.
Frank Matsaert signed up on a board as a HeForShe champion followed by senior staff and board members. Many TMEA staff signed up online.
By becoming HeForSHe champions staff and partners committed to develop and launch an innovative male-focused gender mainstreaming curriculum for the partners they are working with and to carry out an employment survey of the representation of women across all levels, for the partners they are working with to further increase women in leadership roles.
By joining the HeForShe solidarity movement, TMEA staff have become advocates, agents, stakeholders and champions of gender equality.