Women underrepresented in political arena, says Action Aid

Women in Kenya, who make up 52 percent of the population, are represented by only nine per cent of elected leaders in the country.

According to a report released by ActionAid Kenya and Community Advocacy in collaboration with Awareness Trust (CRAWN) titled the ‘The Journey of Women Candidates and Leaders in the 2017 General Elections,’ only 172 women out of 1,862 positions were elected in the election.

Speaking at the launch in Nairobi on Wednesday, CRAWN Executive Director, Daisy Amdany asked women to support female candidates based on their capacity to lead and shun being divided on tribal and political lines.

A woman’s sense of self is bigger than an individual. Women are inclusive by nature, it is essential that the political space is equally represented, she added.

The Executive Director ActionAid Kenya, Bijay Kumar said that they recognize women as inclusive leaders in their communities and have committed to partner with them to attain transformative change.

The Nairobi County Women Representative, Esther Passaris commended women’s rights groups such as CRAWN for the support they give to women at the community level.

She stressed that women must unite and support each other so that empowerment efforts are able to bring about gains for the less empowered woman at the grass root level.

Passaris said that instruments such as the National and County Budget Policy Statements must reflect how the allocation of funds will contribute to the empowerment of women in Kenya.

Women issues should be discussed. 30 percent of government funds should be allocated to women because there is no equality if women are not economically empowered, added Passaris.

Policy and Gender expert, Vincent Kimosop, stressed the need for the report, saying that equality cannot be tackled if the problem on the ground is not detailed and documented.

The report further revealed the shortcomings of the political arena for women in Kenya, noting that only four out of 27 Committees in National Assembly are chaired by women.

The Committee on Implementation at the Assembly does not have a single female member. This means that as the committee oversees resolutions of the house, women are not a part of the conversation, explained Kimosop.

He highlighted the major challenges that women candidates faced in the 2017 election among them negative patriarchal and cultural perceptions, violence and sexual intimidation.

The report also highlighted some positives experiences such as the success story of Member of County Assembly for Mwakirunge in Mombasa County, Fiddis Mwakunga, who rose to power due to support from women empowerment initiatives.

Source: Kenya News Agency