“It’s not often you have a vision and see it implemented” – Professor Mugenda for International Women’s Day 2024

by | Mar 15, 2024 | Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) | 0 comments

As part of our International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024 celebrations, the Faculty was honoured to be joined by the extra-ordinary Professor Olive Mugenda, welcomed by Dr Natalie Gardiner, Dr Beth Micakovic and Professor Adam Danquah.  

This year’s IWD theme, #InspireInclusion, calls us to not only recognise and embrace the diversity and unique strengths of all women but to actively create a thriving environment where they are empowered, valued and respected. Whether it be through policy, procedure or every-day individual interactions, as a collective we can all contribute to achieving gender equality. Following our recent Silver Athena Swan Award, this year’s IWD not only celebrates our journey to date advancing women’s roles in academia and healthcare but also looks towards challenges to be addressed in our future as the University embarks on its bicentennial year.  

Professor Mugenda is currently the Chairperson of the Kenyatta University Teaching Referral & Research Hospital (KUTRRH). Under her leadership, KUTRRH has partnered with FBMH to help improve the prevention and management of cancer in Kenya by creating a world-leading research centre. During her career, Olive has made significant contributions in both an academic and research capacity towards women’s issues and healthcare equality. 

Olive took the audience on a personal and heartfelt journey, recounting the challenges she has faced as both a woman and leader from her early childhood and throughout her professional career in the education, health, judicial and private sectors.  

Her appointment as Vice Chancellor of Kenyatta University against an all-male applicant pool in 2006, brought about transformative change and innovation at the institution, both at an infrastructural and academic level, leading to the building of the first public University Hospital in the region, now a flagship oncology centre. Olive described how at each stage her vision was met with initial resistance and a lack of support, serving as a testament to her ability to seize opportunities with a sense of urgency and unwavering determination.   

“It’s not often you have a vision and see it implemented.” – Professor Olive Mugenda 

Despite the gender bias, discrimination and adversity Olive encountered, she attributes her resilience to her female mentors and support networks, including her mother.  

Professor Mugenda’s story guides the way for women in the workplace and leadership roles, highlighting the innovation and progress that can be made when women are able to embrace their potential as change-makers.   

If you were unable to attend the event, you can now watch a recording on the Faculty’s YouTube channel.  

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