Fox News host Emily Compagno, while playing down criticism that women’s rights are under attack in the United States, claimed this week that pregnant Kenyan women are not only denied the right to vote, but are also prevented from physically leaving their homes.
It didn’t take long, however, to real Kenyans to call his comments as misleading and demand that the host and network issue a correction.
Despite the backlash, however, Compagno isn’t backing down, instead citing an unsourced website to make its point.
During a July 5 appearance on Fox News’ late-night “comedy” show Gutfeld!, Compagno took issue with celebrities wading through political issues and allegedly trying to “cancel” the 4th of July. She chastised those who have complained that American women are losing their rights, noting that it has nothing to do with what women in other countries face.
“The insularity of these celebrities is so stupid to me! It’s so nauseating. These comments are totally insane,” said the Outnumbered the co-host fumed, adding, “We have less voting rights? What about Kenya where pregnant women cannot leave the house, so they have absolutely no constructive right to vote? »
As first reported by liberal watchdog Media Matters, Compagno’s chilling remarks about Kenya quickly drew attention on social media and among African media.
“What is it? What does Emily Compagno say? That in Kenya pregnant women can’t leave their homes so they don’t have the right to vote? How does she imagine our country? This statement is incorrect, misleading, condescending and should be removed,” said Kenyan political strategist Pauline Njoroge. tweeted.
“Pregnant women in Kenya are allowed to leave the house. Pregnant women in Kenya can vote. Pregnant women have priority on the voting lines. Pregnant women give birth for free under the government’s #lindamama program. Withdraw your statement,” Esther M. Passaris, a female member of Kenya’s National Assembly, tweeted at Compagno.
As many Kenyans have pointed out on social media, the African country’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has in fact extended access to voting to pregnant women. Alongside the elderly and people with disabilities, expectant mothers can skip the long queues and jump straight to the front of the line.
When contacted for comment on the controversy, Compagno – through a Fox News spokesperson – stood by her remarks and pointed to two websites where she found the claim according to which pregnant women in Kenya would have been banned from leaving their homes. This essentially restricts their right to vote, hence his use of the word “constructive” on Tuesday night.
One site, Grazia Daily, wrote that in western Kenya, “women who are expecting children are prohibited by cultural norms from being seen in public, which means a large proportion of women cannot go vote”. The other site, World Population Review, wrote: “Kenyan women are not allowed to take long walks (like going to the polls) and pregnant women are not allowed to leave the house. High rates of disease and a history of election-related violence also keep women at home. »
Neither website cites an official source to back up the claims.