Women and Top Political Office

Posted by on 10th March 2011

Categories:   Kenya Constitution

By Mzalendo Contributor (@mmajiwa)

If the results of the Infotrak survey published in yesterday’s papers is anything to go by

the next election will be a good one for women candidates. According to the poll 60 percent of those surveyed would vote for a woman candidate.   Women’s performance in public office gets a 62 percent approval rating at parliamentary
level, 29 percent at ministerial level and 24 percent in the civil service. Only 21 percent
would not vote for a woman president.

Of course there are those that will dispute the results of the survey and say that the data
is unreliable as the results of any survey are skewed depending on the demographics
of those interviewed. However, despite the arguments against the survey results the fact remains that the
attitude change reflected by the survey results is certainly welcome and long overdue.

With regards to gender distribution in our government looks something like this – out of
222 parliamentarians only 21 are women, out of 42 ministers only 7 are women, out of 52
Assistant Ministers only 6 are women. Women make up only 7 out of the 44 permanent
secretaries and none of the 8 provincial commissioners are women. The percentage of
women filling top posts in public office is still mostly in single digits, dismal. This needs
to change.

The good thing about the change in attitude regarding principles of gender equity and
equality in public office is that these principles are enshrined in and protected by the
constitution, hopefully constitutional protection will save us from the empty rhetoric on
gender equality.

With regards to political seats Article 27 (8) obligates the government to take legislative
and policy 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. While Article 81
requires that the electoral system comply with the same principle. Article 91 requires
political parties respect and promote gender equality and equity. Article 197 (1) requires
that not more than two-thirds of the members of any county assembly or county executive
committee shall be of the same gender. The principle is also reflected at county level
where Article 197 (1) requires that not more than two-thirds of the members of any
county assembly or county executive committee shall be of the same gender.

If the constitution is adhered to with regards to principles gender equity in elective and
appointed positions the face of government should never look the same at least as regards
gender distribution.

2 Comments

  • by Kenya: Women and political office · Global Voices on 10th March 2011

    [...] The next election will be a good one for women candidates in Kenya: “According to the poll 60 percent of those surveyed would vote for a woman candidate. Women’s performance in public office gets a 62 percent approval rating at parliamentary level, 29 percent at ministerial level and 24 percent in the civil service. Only 21 percent would not vote for a woman president.” Tweet [...]

  • by Kenya: Women and political office | Daringsearch on 10th March 2011

    [...] The next election will be a good one for women candidates in Kenya: “According to the poll 60 percent of those surveyed would vote for a woman candidate. Women’s performance in public office gets a 62 percent approval rating at parliamentary level, 29 percent at ministerial level and 24 percent in the civil service. Only 21 percent would not vote for a woman president.” [...]