The Women in the Red Initiative

We often think of leadership as monumental and large-scale, such as founding an organization or initiating a movement. But leadership comes in many forms, as WGLG Country Engagement Coordinator Josephine Karianjahi discussed with the Kenya Television Network’s host Michael Gitonga during a recent interview on Morning Express. Gitonga spoke with Karianjahi about the goals of WGLG’s Women in the Red campaign: to encourage more women to take on leadership positions, and to celebrate women who have exhibited extraordinary leadership qualities.

Appearing with Karianjahi was 18-year-old student leader Purity Wangui Muchai, who, as the chair of Women Student Welfare Association, mentors young women leaders. In keeping with its mission, the Women in the Red campaign just launched a Listeners’ Choice Award to recognize extraordinary, little-known women leaders throughout Kenya – women who are giving back to their communities, initiating critical conversations, starting innovative businesses.

When asked what she has has done for WOSWA since being elected, Purity responded, “It is no secret that some female university students rely on older men, or “sugar daddies”, to fund their education and daily up-keep. To eradicate this dependence on older married men, I launched a campaign to empower young women to earn their own money. We also coordinated seminars in which young women were taught to care for their sexual health.”

Purity realizes her experiences and the knowledge she has gained through them can be used to benefit other young women. As she explained, “We have a WhatsApp Group where I mentor female students to take leadership roles. I personally follow up on their education too. We meet every Saturday for mentoring sessions.”

“A lot still needs to be done so that more women can go for leadership positions and even fight for the male-dominated positions. Women think myopically. They don’t want to reach for the stars. This leads them to settling for less, and they become comfortable with the positions they have.”
– Purity Wangui Muchai

“By sharing stories of women like Purity, we hope to inspire people who are watching this show and listening to our show on Radio Maisha to know: where does an individual start their leadership journey?”
– WGLG Country Engagement Coordinator Josephine Karianjahi