YWCAAIDS :: HIV/AIDS and Gender Equality

HIV/AIDS and Gender Equality

Gender equality means that both men and women have equal conditions for realizing their full human rights, equal access to control of resources and respect.

The Kenyan government has made various efforts to address the gender issues and HIV/AIDS by having in place legislations and policies that address the twin pandemics, and to achieve gender equality. Experience has it that Gender inequalities increase the vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and violence against women. It leads to harmful gender norms and practices related to masculinity that influence sexual risk taking behaviours by males; violence against women rendering them unable to negotiate for safe sex and increasing their vulnerabilities for example forced sex; barriers in terms of lack of information to access the HIV related services; stigma and discrimination where women get blamed for bringing the virus home; lack of economic empowerment for women and sex workers; low education levels for women and girls; lack of property rights and access to control the economic resources as well as lack of empowerment for women.

Kenya has signed and ratified various treaties at the international and regional level to commit to gender equality between men and women. Further, a number of legal frameworks and policies on gender and HIV/AIDS have been developed showing good will and commitment of the government towards fighting gender inequality and HIV/AIDS; hence the need to further push for full implementation of such policies and legislation. The YWCAA Bar Waitresses and grandmothers project has ensured integration of gender with HIV/AIDS through the inclusion of gender as a topic during the sensitization process. Moreover, the BAWA and grandmothers project also addresses the harmful socio-economic practices that render women vulnerable to sexual abuse and any other form of violence against the BAWA and grandmothers.

Moreover, the BAWA and grandmothers project also addresses the harmful socio-economic practices that render women vulnerable to sexual abuse and any other form of violence against the BAWA and grandmothers. YWCAA is also on the forefront in joining other stakeholders and like minded advocates against gender violence.In addition to this, YWCAA empowers both the BAWA members and grandmothers with information on sexual reproductive health. Due to age, grandmothers are more listened to, when equipped with information, they can also be channels for passing information on behaviour change to the youth and their siblings. YWCAA has identified grandmothers that have undergone training on HIV/AIDS and act not only as role models to other grandmothers and to the society at large, but as educators.

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HIV/AIDS & WOMEN ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

YWCAA in partnership with the Stephen Lewis Foundation offers training in small scale business skills and provide start-up revolving community funds for economic empowerment to bar waitresses and grandmothers (BAWA)in order to make a meaningful choice of earning a living and reduce their exposure to violence and HIV/AIDS. The program also looks into empowering the beneficiaries with relevant information on HIV/AIDS, knowledge on basic legal rights and advocacy skills, reproductive health, human rights, rights to decision making and leadership.