First Lady Mama Rachel Ruto Tuesday hosted the inaugural First Lady Roundtable at the second UN-Habitat Assembly.

The roundtable provided a forum for sharing, discussing and agreeing on different approaches to raising the profile of sustainable urban development through the voice and agency of women.

Under the theme “Women Shaping Cities & Communities”, the Roundtable recognised the central role of women in enabling cities and communities to thrive holistically.

The First Lady shared examples of cities such as Vienna, where incorporating a gender lens into urban design has resulted in safer and more comfortable spaces for women.

Kenya has also made positive strides in improving public amenities, including street lighting, modernised markets, revamped public parks and the creation of new pedestrian walkways in major cities.

Recognising the pivotal role of women as the mirror of society, the First Lady emphasised the need to involve them in urban planning.

She firmly believed that empowering women with opportunities and tools would uplift both themselves and their communities.

In line with Sustainable Development Goal 11, which aims to achieve inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements, she stressed the urgency of addressing challenges such as housing deficits, informal settlements and inadequate waste management.

The First Lady highlighted the Government of Kenya’s commitment to affordable housing and the Bottom-Up Economic Plan.

She expressed her support for the goal of providing decent housing for every woman and her family, and highlighted the government’s plan to increase the number of affordable mortgages from 30,000 to 1 million by 2032.

By Fred Odanga Azelwa.