Photo: Trupti Shah
Women´s political participation
The 2013 general elections registered the highest voter turnout under the transformative 2010 constitution of Kenya, which devolved power and accountability to 47 counties under a governance model intended to promote more equitable development and create opportunities for new economic growth centres. The progressive rights-based constitution provides the legal framework for the Government to fulfil basic rights, and for marginalized and vulnerable groups, especially women and children, to claim their rights. Provisions in the constitution articulate some of the fundamental rights and freedoms, and equality with men that the women of Kenya struggled for and gained and which now have to be implemented and enforced.
Sida supports UN Women, who in turn also support Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association (KEWOPA).
UN Women has supported KEWOPA since 2005 through technical and financial support. A gender advisor was made available to KEWOPA in 2007 to 2013 for technical support. Most of the funds to KEWOPA have been through the Gender and Governance Programme fund supported by six donors. The main part of the Swedish contribution of 796 000 Swedish kronor to UN Women were used to fund KEWOPA between 2011 and 2012.
What are the results?
- Women’s representation in Parliament increased from 10 per cent in the 2007 to 20 per cent in 2013 partly due to the affirmative action policy provided in the constitution. The inclusion of quota system in the Constitution was strongly supported by UN Women and its partners’ advocacy during the constitution making process from 2008-2010. This has resulted in 30 per cent representation of women as members of the county assembly at the devolved governance level and 30 per cent representation in public office of key ministries.
- Women now constitute about 21 per cent in the bicameral parliament, a major gain in women political leadership. There are a total of 86 elected and nominated women leaders out of the 416 parliamentarians (349 National Assembly members and 67 Senators).
- 12 of the 16 elected women members of parliament have served in the previous parliament; which represents re-election of 75 per cent of the previous women leaders compared to the previous 20 per cent re-election in 2007. An important factor for the re-election was the collaborative support to Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association (KEWOPA).
- Supported 46 CSO’s advocacy and lobbying for promoting women’s leadership and representation at national and devolved governance levels. This ensured at least 60 per cent of the county governments have appointed at least 33 per cent of women as staff.
- Training manual for women candidates in Kenya was used to enhance the capacities of 783 women leaders in preparation for the general elections.
- A new toolkit focusing on violence against women was used to train the National Steering Committee on Peace Building and Conflict Management - 24 national and 50 county based.