Whoever coined the phrase democracy is not cheap, was spot on and may have been having the Kenyan women aspirants in mind.
As political party primaries draw closer, focus is shifting to the political party lists which must comply with the gender equality provisions outlined in the Constitution. Parties that have in the past short-changed women when formulating the party list are now bound by the law to do so.
Reports indicate that Kenya lags behind other East Africa countries in as far as representation of women in the political arena is concerned. Women only account for 23 per cent in Parliament compared to 62% in Rwanda, 37% in Tanzania, 35% in Uganda, 36% in Burundi, 39% in Ethiopia and 28% in South Sudan.
Although Article 27 (8) of the Constitution directs the State to take legislative and other measures to ‘implement the principle that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender’, this gain is yet to fully materialize.
As we celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day, Kenyan Woman celebrates key gains made by women legislators in Parliament.
While many reasons have been given for electing women in leadership positions, the number of gender sensitive legislations initiated by women parliamentarians in the August house are a true testimony that women’s political participation results in tangible gains for the common citizen especially marginalized groups. It also leads to greater democracy, responsiveness to citizen needs, and increased cooperation across party and ethnic lines, and a more sustainable future.
Some of the transformative Bills sponsored by women legislators include the following: