A gender statistician is making sure women are counted in Kenya
United Nations Foundation
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This story was originally shared on #EqualEverywhere — a campaign to champion the changemakers working to make equality for girls and women a reality. You can find the original story here.

Caroline Gatwiri Mutiwiri is a gender statistician at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

What does #EqualEverywhere mean to you?
#EqualEverywhere is fundamentally about fairness. It means that women and men as well as girls and boys enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities and protections, irrespective of their orientation, gender, or any other defining characteristic. Notably, #EqualEverywhere does not assume uniform treatment of all people, since deliberate steps are needed to reach gender parity and to redress the exclusion of girls, women, and marginalized groups.

Why do you advocate for equal rights for girls and women?
Men and women are not equal and gender affects an individual's living experience. Gender equality is a fundamental human right and is essential to a prosperous, sustainable world. Inequalities faced by girls begin right at birth and follow them all their lives. Women and girls represent half of the world's population — empowering them can facilitate a more peaceful society where everyones' full potential can be realized. By accelerating social progress, gender equality can correct the long-held status quo of men being better positioned in social, economic, and political arena than women.

What motivates you to do this work?
Steady progress in integrating gender perspectives into development policies over the past few decades has motivated me. Kenya's progress across many sectors is a case in point. According to World Bank data, the share of Kenya's waged and salaried female workers in the labor force rose from 19.4% in 2000 to 23% in 2018, a significant shift, albeit still low when compared to men, who constitute 53.2% of the workforce. News of this disparity led to a push for equality everywhere. Nonetheless, women globally earn 77 cents for every dollar that men receive for the same work, so clearly, we are far from #EqualEverywhere. Likewise, more effort is required in the economic and political sectors where the disparities persist and where legislative reforms and affirmative action are needed.


What are the main challenges you experience in your work to advance gender equality?
A lack of political goodwill, inadequate legal protections, weak legislative enforcement and resource shortfalls are delaying advances. Gender stereotyping and lack of awareness regarding what constitutes gender-sensitive policy making persists. Kenya, for instance, has struggled to pass Bill 2018, known as the Gender Bill, due to lack of political will.

What progress are you seeing as a result of your work?
As awareness of gender inequalities spreads, discussions are opening up — people are beginning to reject gender stereotypes, some of which are formed in the workplace. As gender advocacy begins to gain traction, more men accept that women can also hold the same positions as them and make positive contributions inside and outside the workplace. The realization that gender is not solely a women's issue but rather an all-inclusive priority for both men and women is taking hold. In addition, the frequency with which a gender dimension is included in processing and analyzing data is growing.

What progress are you seeing in the wider gender equality movement?
Harassment and violence perpetrated against women in the workplace are being identified and handled and racial discrimination is easing. Women are increasingly becoming role models, challenging the notion of male chauvinism and dominance. More and more women are joining the labor force and the push to select female CEOs and to foster entrepreneurship among women is intensifying, particularly in big economies like the U.S. This motivates other countries and international bodies to champion for gender equality. The rise of women in politics, which has long been dominated by men, is also encouraging.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.