Women’s poll victory a major plus for Kenya
What you need to know:
- Kenya’s electoral events have suffered significant pushbacks with regard to the status of women.
- The high number of women running for various seats in the 2022 polls was a strong indicator that a lot of change is still possible.
- August 2022 has brought with it many wins for women, whose ascent to meaningful political positions is a thing for Kenyans to laud and celebrate.
August 9 has come and gone. It has left in its wake numerous changes.
Many presumed guarantees were up in the air, and there are still many surprises taking place, but one key positive change in this election that must be highlighted and discussed is the rising number of women in elected positions.
Kenya’s electoral events have suffered significant pushbacks with regard to the status of women.
First among many has been the concerted decades-long refusal to enforce the two-thirds gender rule, maintaining a majority male leadership.
Secondly, purposeful misinterpretation of the woman representative position has labelled women who ran for other positions as overambitious, power-hungry and, therefore, unwomanly.
Third, Kenyan society has leaned towards upholding harmful gender norms, favouring patriarchy and harmful traditional spiritual beliefs.
In addition to all this, women candidates face many challenges while running for office, ranging from lower resourcing to harassment and discouragement during campaigns, and more.
Therefore, the high number of women running for various seats in the 2022 polls was a strong indicator that a lot of change is still possible.
As such, increased numbers of women in governor, senator, member of the National Assembly and member of county assembly positions – beyond the woman representative seat – is a massive victory for Kenyan women.
This implies that Kenya could be pivoting to a society-driven diversification of the face of leadership.
The second victory was the positive outcome with regard to marginalised communities.
The wider public has watched the political struggle of Kenyan women leaders in all sectors, not just politics.
Everybody can see that the successes of those who came before, and strategies for their support, have been key in maintaining stamina and effort for this round’s winners, and will be useful in expanding the ground for upcoming ones.
This covers not only those marginalised by gender but by tribe, religion and more.
The third victory is a renewed ability to dream. For far too long, Kenyan women eyeing high offices were roundly discouraged by loved ones and other stakeholders due to the obvious suffering of those who went before.
But now, the road for women in leadership is wider and straighter. It is no longer a pipedream for young girls from Kilifi to Marsabit, Samburu to Taveta, and Machakos to Ngong to venture into politics, or seek leadership posts, well supported by their families and communities.
August 2022 has brought with it many wins for women, whose ascent to meaningful political positions is a thing for Kenyans to laud and celebrate.
This alone is a wonderful thing, not just for the women, but for our representative democracy and the country at large.
The writer is a policy analyst. [email protected]