What you need to know:
- President William Ruto promised to implement the two-thirds gender rule in elective and appointive positions in the public sector.
- Some power women have, however, already broken the glass ceiling, and are positioned in key State agencies.
- They include Chief Justice Martha Koome, her deputy Philomena Mwilu, Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi and Auditor General Nancy Gathungu, among others.
President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga are jostling for the implementation of two-third gender rule through the bi-partisan talks. This is in a bid to enhance the position of women in elective and appointive positions.
President Ruto already presented a memo to Parliament on the same, and included it as an item for deliberation by the National Dialogue Committee for execution.
In his manifesto, Dr Ruto promised to implement the two-thirds gender rule in elective and appointive positions in the public sector. His push towards that direction could get opposition support through the nascent talks.
But even as the push gathers steam, some power women have already broken the glass ceiling, and are positioned in key State agencies where they are already shaping Kenya’s governance and administration in the public sector.
They include Chief Justice Martha Koome, her deputy Philomena Mwilu, Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi, Auditor General Nancy Gathungu, Secretary to the Cabinet Mercy Wanjau, Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) chairperson Mary Wanyonyi Chebukati, Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) chairperson Lyn Mengich and SRC Chief Executive Officer Anne Gitau, Secretary, Public Prosecutions and the Principal Deputy to the Director of Public Prosecutions Dorcas Oduor, and Teachers Service Commission Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia.
Others are National Security Advisor to the President Monica Juma, Communications Authority of Kenya chairperson Mary Wambui, her Independent Policing Oversight Authority counterpart Anne Makori, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights chairperson Roseline Odede, National Lands Commission Chief Executive Officer Kabale Tache Arero, Council of Governors chair Anne Waiguru and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Gladys Boss Shollei.
Some of these women were appointed under the previous administration, while others came in under President Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza government.
Ms Wanyonyi was, in July, appointed by President Ruto to serve as CRA chairperson for a period of six years, taking over from Jane Kiringai, whose term ended in February.
She is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Professional Mediator (CPM) and Financial Analyst with 37 years of experience in the public sector at national and sub-county level.
She has expert knowledge in the organization and functions of Government and is skilled in implementation and monitoring of accounting standards and systems and administering accounting units.
Prior to joining CRA as Chairperson where she has promised to help define and enhance the revenue sources of the national and county governments, Ms Wanyonyi worked with the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning as a Senior Deputy Accountant General.
Nancy Gathungu, the Auditor-General, was appointed to the position in 2020.
A holder of a Masters of Business Administration (Strategic Management) and Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting), Ms Gathungu is a Certified Public Accountant of Kenya (CPA-K) and a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).
She is also a Member of Association of Women Accountants of Kenya (Awak) with vast experience in Public Sector auditing, Strategic Management and capacity building for Supreme Audit Institutions.
Dorcas Oduor is a long serving Secretary, Public Prosecutions and the Principal Deputy to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
A career Prosecution Counsel, Ms Oduor has previously served in the Public Prosecutions space for more than 20 years having begun her career as a State Counsel in 1991.
She holds a Master’s degree in International Conflict Management and an LL.B Degree from the University of Nairobi alongside a Law Diploma, from the Kenya School of Law.
Mercy Wanjau is the Secretary to the Cabinet following her appointment by President Ruto last year. She is a commercial lawyer, regulatory and governance expert whose career spans over 20 years.
She has worked in the private and public sectors, both at local and international levels, where she has recorded a history of success and transformational impact.
From 2019 to 2021, she served as the Director General (in an acting capacity) of the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), the State Agency responsible for regulating the ICT Sector.
Roseline Odede is the chairperson of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, whose mandate is to protect and promote Human Rights in Kenya.
It includes offering advisories to the Government and reporting obligations to several international bodies and organizations.
She is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya, Certified Mediator, Arbitrator and a Social and Environmental Impact Auditor and Assessor. She previously served as the vice chairperson of the Judges Magistrates and Vetting Board, and is a nationally recognized expert in gender, governance, policy, and human rights.
She holds a Master of Laws Degree awarded by the University of Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa; and has been a litigator in private practice for over 30 years.
SRC chairperson Lyn Mengich is a human resources professional and business leader, with over 25 years cross-industry experience, holding strategic leadership and board positions in Kenya, the East African region and Africa. Her experience spans public traded and private sector organizations.
Highlights of her experience include; talent and change manager for Shell Oil Products Africa, Regional HR Manager for 11 countries in the East African region, HR director for Barclays Bank, HR director for Kenya Commercial Bank, HR director for Smith Kline Beecham-East Africa and CEO Nuevo Consulting. She has also held board positions at Jamii Bora Bank, National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and Sovereign Group.
SRC boss Anne Gitau, was appointed to the position in June 2015. Previously, she was the Deputy Commission Secretary from April 2012 to March 2014, when she was appointed as acting Commission Secretary.
Ms Gitau previously worked at the Higher Education Loans Board (Helb) as a human resources and administration manager and at the Industrial Development Bank and Hawkins Associates before joining the commission.
She is a HR professional and leader with over ten years of comprehensive HR experience ranging from the private sector to the public sector.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Nairobi and a Bachelor of Education Degree from Egerton University. She is also a Certified Human Resource Practitioner.
National Lands Commission CEO Kabale Tache Arero is a seasoned career professional with over 20 years wealth of successful experience providing, human resources, operational and strategic leadership in uniquely challenging environments.
She has a track record of performance in both government and quasi government institutions, including the banking sector.
Ipoa chair Anne Makori, holds a Law degree (LLB Hons) from the University of Nairobi, a post-graduate diploma from the Kenya School of Law, a post- graduate diploma in human resource management and a masters in leadership.
She is a Certified Public Secretary (CPS) K, a certified professional trainer and a certified professional mediator.
Ms Makori has a vast experience spanning more than 20 years with exposure at both board and management levels.
She has worked for the government, the media industry, the finance sector (banking), legal practice specializing in civil litigation, conveyancing and corporate law hand has also undertaken human resource consultancy at both local and international levels.
Mary Wambui Mungai is the chairperson of the board of directors of the Communications Authority of Kenya having been appointed to the position on 2nd December 2022.
She is an experienced chief executive officer with over 30 years of success in various industries.
Monica Juma currently serves as National Security Advisor to President Ruto. She is an experienced diplomat who previously served as the Cabinet Secretary for Defense in former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government.
Nancy Njeri Macharia is the chief executive officer of the Teachers Service Commission.
She holds a Master of Education (Policy and Management) degree from Bristol University, UK and a Bachelor of Education degree in English/Literature from Kenyatta University. She has worked in the education sector for more than 28 years.
Martha Koome is an advocate who currently serves as the Chief Justice of Kenya. She is the first woman to occupy the post while Philomena Mwilu serves as her deputy and vice-president of the Supreme Court of Kenya since October 28, 2016.
Anne Amadi is the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary and advocate of the High Court of Kenya since 1989. Previously, she practiced law privately in Mombasa (1997-2003) after serving as a magistrate in the Kenyan Judiciary for six years from 1991 and 1997.
Until May, 2008, she was the deputy executive director and head of litigation with the Federation of Women Lawyers (Fida) Kenya, a leading women’s rights organization whose core business is the provision of legal aid services to indigent women.
Anne Waiguru is the current Council of Governors chairperson and the first woman to hold the position. She is also the second Governor of Kirinyaga County since 2017, currently serving a second and final term. Previously, she served as Cabinet Secretary (CS) in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, the first CS in that ministry, having been appointed by fourth president Uhuru Kenyatta.
Gladys Shollei is the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Woman Representative of Uasin Gishu County.
She worked as a lecturer at the University of Nairobi and as Kenya's Deputy Chief Election Officer before becoming Chief Registrar of the Judiciary of Kenya.
In his inauguration speech on September 13, last year, President Ruto committed to lobby legislators to pass the two-thirds gender law.
“On the matter of gender parity, I am committed to the two-thirds gender rule as enshrined in our Constitution. I will work with Parliament to fast-track various legislative proposals and establish a framework that will resolve this matter expeditiously as promised in our manifesto,” he said.