Kenya is trailing at number 18 in Africa when it comes to women representation in Parliament with 19.7%. Rwanda leads with 63.8% follows with 41.9% Namibia 41.3% and Mozambique s at 39.6%. The worst are Nigeria 5.6% , Congo 7.4 % and Mali 8.8%.
Although there is a slight improvement in women contesting for various elective seats this year compared to 2013, the society still resists women candidature.
In 2013, we did not have women contestants in the governors’ race. However in this election, there are nine women who have presented themselves for the seat, 21 are going for Senate seats, 102 battling it out for MPs and 440 offering themselves as members of the county assemblies.
This is quite an improvement and we trust that we will see more women vying for political seats.
However, we still have a long way to go, unless our politics and attitudes do not change. Women are still harassed while on the campaign trail and they have to hire security at all times.
Below are some of the problems women face while hunting for votes in Kenya
There is stereotyping of women because of social and cultural values. Most women go to politics with cultural and structural biases, disadvantaging them as they start the journey.
We live in a society where men and women believe that a woman’s place is at home and not in leadership position. This has made it hard for women to sell their agenda especially to the old folks.
They will question your marital status before they will listen to you and this has made many women shelve the idea of leadership.
Insults, vulgar language
Women vying for a political office have complained on being on the receiving end on endless insults and vulgar language used by both the opponents and the voters. Joyce Laboso, who is vying for Governor in Bomet, admits that she has been insulted because she married someone from a different tribe. She has been told endless times to go vie where her husband comes from.
Compared to her male counterparts, most female aspirants are short of cash. What they offer is service and a promise to deliver once in power. Many female aspirants are told to ‘leave the money and go’ which is something that happened to Winnie Kabiru, who is vying for Governor’s seat in Meru. Voters expect aspirants to dish money out to them, which has been a trend started by male aspirants who have access to large amounts of money. This has been a disadvantage to many women who are struggling to raise funds for their campaigns.
All in all, things are changing slowly and we hope that they will improve for women in the future general elections. See below the number of women aspirants for ths election.