Celebrating progressing: More women joining competitive politics in Kenya

Oxfam in Kenya in partnership with Youth Agenda and FIDA Kenya through financial support from European Union have for the last two years been working closely with women aspirants, opinion leaders, media and the public with an aim of increasing participation and representation of women in politics. Through engagement with stakeholders at different levels in Nairobi, Turkana, Wajir, Nakuru and Kisii, Oxfam and partners have succeeded in building a movement of Kenyans under the campaign #VoteADada that challenges regressive beliefs, practises that hinder women from meaningfully participating in mainstream politics while championing and showing support and recognition of the many bold women who have expressed interest in mainstream politics.

In the August 2017 general elections, Kenyans elected 172 women. An increase from 147 women elected in the 2013 general elections. This year saw many more women contest for competitive posts compared to 2013, when majority of women were nominated. The successful election of 3 women as Governors. 3 Senators, 23 Members of Parliament, 96 Members of the County Assembly and 47 Women Representatives is no mean achievement despite the need to have more women secure political positions to meet the two thirds gender principle.

Gender equality is among the most discussed issues in Kenya today. It is an agenda that is speedily gaining momentum as it particularly seeks to address women’s rights more so their inclusion in driving the developmental agenda in various sectors such as social, economic, and political. It is due to factors like women underrepresentation in decision making positions that has since seen more women come out strongly and fearlessly to challenge the status quo. In fact, the new 2010 Constitution provides a framework for addressing gender equality which is by far a milestone for women’s rights in Kenya. However, the road to have more women included in the decision making process on various developmental agendas has been faced by a number of challenges among them traditional perception on the role of girls and women that often impede them to get involved in what is perceived to be ‘men-stuff.’

Through engagement with stakeholders at different levels in Nairobi, Turkana, Wajir, Nakuru and Kisii, Oxfam and partners have succeeded in building a movement of Kenyans under the campaign #VoteADada that is challenges regressive beliefs, practises that hinder women from meaningfully participating in mainstream politics while championing and showing support and recognition of the many bold women who have expressed interest in mainstream politics.

Oxfam also celebrates their very own Farhiya Ali (Former Kenya Programme Director Operations) who was nominated to the Senate to represent Wajir County. Oxfam and partners commit to put women at the heart of everything we do and encourage more women to stand up and challenge societal perceptions that often put them on the edge in the pursuit of equality.