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January 19, 2019

Kenya lagging behind in gender balance at Parliament - Kewopa

A file photo of members of the Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association at Ruchu Catholic Church.
A file photo of members of the Kenya Women Parliamentarians Association at Ruchu Catholic Church.

Kenya is trailing in East Africa's rankings for women representation in Parliament.

This was reported on Friday during the opening ceremony of a three-day retreat of the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association.

Senate speaker Kenneth Lusaka said the number of women in Parliament stood at 23.6 per cent in both Houses but that representation was rising gradually.

In a speech read by Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar, the speaker noted that after the promulgation of the new constitution, the share had risen from 20.6 per cent.

Rwanda leads with 61 per cent and is followed by Tanzania (36), Burundi (36), Uganda (34) and South Sudan (28.5).

Kamar praised Kewopa for women's roles in politics but noted there are many challenges.

“In confronting these challenges, you must enlist the support of your male counterparts through persuasive dialogue and articulation of key issue facing women,” she said in Naivasha.

The Senator expressed concern regarding the implementation of the two thirds gender rule, which she termed their major challenge.

National Assembly deputy speaker Moses Cheboi noted the election of Kenya's first three women governors. They are Anne Waiguru (Kirinyaga), Charity Ngilu (Kitui) and Joyce Laboso (Bomet).

More on this: Kenya's first women governors: Ngilu, Laboso, Waiguru flying high after vote

Also read: Fearing two thirds gender rule will not pass, Laboso advises plan B

Cheboi was full of praise for women from pastoral areas who made it to the National Assembly. He also praised Isiolo, Nakuru and Uasin Gishu for election female senators.

“Kenya has had very few elected women for a long period but we are grateful that under the new constitution, things have changed for the better."

Sicily Kariuki, minister for Youth and Gender Affairs, said the journey had been long and that women suffered violence.

 She challenged the parliamentarians to work with other arms of government so gender balance is achieved.

“As women, we should work as a team so we can address the challenges we face and achieve our goals."

Nark Kenya boss Martha Karua noted that the gender rule will be fulfilled if women parliamentarians set aside their differences.

“The country has come a long way in terms of increasing the number of women in Parliament. We should challenge both Jubilee and NASA leaders to make sure we achieve this."

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