|The presence of women in uniform in the Navy is an event that began in the year 2000 following the disbandment of the Women Services Corps (WSC) through a Presidential Legal Notice of 1 December 1999. The legal notice directed that women from the disbanded Women Service Corps be absorbed according to service seniority into the three mainstream services - Kenya Army, Kenya Air Force and Kenya Navy - in the ratio of 7:2:1 respectively. The distribution of personnel indicates that the Navy received the least personnel from disbanded WSC. Until recently, the physical presence of the woman on board a warship was inconceivable.
The first women officers to join Kenya Navy comprised of two officers and 38 service women. In the officers category was General Service Officer Major Betty Kenga (Now Colonel) and Specialist Officer Captain Nderitu. Currently the highest-ranking Woman Officer in the service is Colonel Betty Kenga, presently posted at Defence Headquarters. This is an expression that Navy Women have equal opportunities as their male counterparts.
Colonel Kenga joined the Kenya Army as an Officer Cadet, trained as intake 17 at the KMA (then Armed Forces Training College (AFTC)) for one year earning her commission as Second Lieutenant on 24 January 1985. Prior to it being disbanded, all service women and officers recruited were on completion of training based at Moi Air Base Eastleigh, the Women Service Corps. Their terms and conditions of service were restrictive and members were deployed only on administrative/subordinate duties, leaving their male counterparts to undertake combat duties.
At the Women Service Corps , Colonel Betty Kenga held several appointment including Sports Officer, Welfare Officer, Adjutant, Paymaster, Officer in- charge of Discipline , to mention but a few. She had the opportunity to work in other Kenya Military establishments such as Armed Forces Training College (AFTC) Moi Air Base , and Department of Defence (DOD) Headquarters, discharging duties such as Administration, and Finance.
The first female officer to be recruited directly into Kenya Navy is Captain Regina Musau who is an Education Officer (Specialist Officer) presently posted at Kenya Naval Training School (NTS), Mtongwe Base.
She joined the service in 2001 as an Officer Cadet and made history by being the first female officer to sail on board a warship in East Africa, when she participated in the training cruise (Exercise Tanzanite) on board KNS Shujaa.
Two years later in 2003, three other General Service Officers joined the service. They too, competently sailed on board a warship when they participated in a training cruise, these are Captain Christine Kuria currently in Supply Department, Captain Jacinta Ngano posted to Pay Department while Captain Wilfrida Omollo is in the Technical Department.
In 2004, three more General Service Officers joined the service that include Captain Roselyne Momanyi posted to Supply Department, Captain Marcella Aritho posted to Sea Department and Captain Rachel Kaggia also in Sea Department. Another group later joined the Navy in 2005 also as General Service Officers, they are Captain Lieutenant Osweto and Captain Nkatha all posted to Supply Department.
In total, Kenya Navy presently has 10 female officers and 115 service women in the Naval establishment. In compliance with the legal provision issued by the government, the Navy continues to receive and train women, who pursue the same courses as men.
At this point in time Navy accepts women as part and parcel of its Service. This new phenomena plays a permanent, leading role in the evolution of the Navy and may also be considered key in the institutional effort to provide women with the same legal rights as men.