Guest Editor Dame Anne Begg interviews women MPs in Kenya

January 28th 2011
For immediate release

A first for internet broadcasting – http://www.wpradio.co.uk invites our Guest Editor of 2011 Dame Anne Begg to interview women MPs in the Kenyan Parliament

http://www.wpradio. co.uk’s first Guest Editor Dame Anne Begg interviews four women MPs from the Kenyan Parliament.

In our new Global podcast broadcast series of 2011 http://www.wpradio.co.uk will be inviting women MPs from the UK Parliament to interview women MPs from other Parliaments all over the World. Technology now allows these “hook-ups” with relative ease compared to broadcasting conventions of the past.

When Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, Chair of the Works and Pensions Select Committee, met a delegation of women from the Kenyan Parliament recently to talk about how Committees work in the UK Parliament, she invited them to be interviewed in this new series and they agreed. They were the guest of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK.

There are now 22 women MPs in Kenya, 10 per cent of the 222 MPs in all. Six of these 22 are nominated, to represent special interests.

The Kenyan women MPs went on strike in 2003 when they were banned from taking their handbags into the Kenyan Parliament. They argued handbags were part of their “attire” and the ban was lifted.

Here Anne asks the delegation abut the ban, and changing family structures in a global world that is now allowing women to take out bank accounts and giving them new rights to the inheritance of land. The responsibilities of men are now changing too.

That all important new Kenyan Constitution and Bill of Rights approved in 2010, gives people new rights to “self actualisation”. This will lead to more women in the Parliament, and the allocation of 47 safe seats for women, one for each County, and 16 women in the newly created Senate House.

Dame Anne, the first full-time wheelchair user in Westminster, spoke to Hon. Dr Joyce Laboso MP, Hon. Shakila Abdalla MP, Hon. Linah Jebii Kilimo MP, Hon. Rachel Shebesh MP. This podcast broadcast was produced by Boni Sones OBE.

Dr Joyce Laboso MP spoke for her colleagues when she said: “We currently have ten per cent of women in our Parliament, six of which are nominated by the political parties to represent special interests. We really are excited about what the new Constitution has offered to us, we know it is not going to be easy, we have to do a lot of civic education and capacity building for women to take up the positions at National and local level. We will start to change the World in 2011 the anniversary of 100 years of International Women’s Day but there is a lot to do to make the changes happen.”

Dame Anne Begg, who sits on the Advisory Board of http://www.wpradio.co.uk said: “It is an exciting time for broadcasting through the web and by allowing women MPs themselves to be “Guest Editors” http://www.wpradio.co.uk is giving us a public voice to explore the issues that affect and impact on women in countries and Parliaments all over the Globe.

“We can share our experiences and our voices, and by joining together in this way the World will seem a smaller more accessible place, where our stories really do matter to one-another and can change how we conduct affairs and what issues we decide to bring to the fore in our respective parliaments. That handbag protest was a small thing but very symbolic for the Kenyan women in the same way getting Ladies toilets in the voting lobbies was the big change here. Thanks to http://www.wpradio for allowing us this thought provoking opportunity that audiences can listen to all over the Globe, via a computer or a mobile phone application.”

Executive Producer of http://www.wpradio.co.uk Boni Sones OBE said:” Thanks to Dame Anne and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK for this “gem” of a podcast broadcast interview with four members of the Kenyan Parliament. Listening to Anne hearing about their handbag protest and in turn telling her story of how women here had to fight to get more Ladies loos in Westminster shows how close our goal of creating a Global village for women MPs via broadcasting though the internet has become. It was a dream when we started broadcasting four years ago and we have now made that dream become a reality. “

Next week Jo Swison, the Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire will be interviewing Lindiwee Mazibuko MP of the Democratic Alliance Party South Africa.

Footnotes:
1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show that in May 2010 we had our highest audience ever with 3,913 visitors, there were over 1,000 more visitors in June and July too compared to last year and even August increased. We don’t share our content with others in order to inflate our stats, you have to visit our website to listen to our content.

2. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item. We have doubled our audience in a year. In July we published our Top Ten podcasts for that month. The top 8 all had over 100 downloads per podcast. Shirley Williams is hugely popular with 777 listeners to one podcast! The Oona King diaries are proving popular too.

3. wpradio also carries international content and has interviews with women MEPs in Europe, and women politicians in Africa and the Middle East.

4. Our supporters include Theresa May MP, Jo Swinson MP, Harriet Harman MP,and many other female politicians listed on our site. Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian, is our Chair.

5. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

6. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.
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