Women’s Participation in Political Processes in Kenya: The Case of Nyamira County 1963-2013
Ndubi, Margaret B.
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The pertinent question is why is there apparently low participation of Nyamira County women in the political arena since independence? There has been inequality in political leadership at all levels in Kenya including Nyamira County. The study was undertaken to investigate reasons for the underrepresentation of women at all levels of political leadership and decision-making, look at strategies to enhance women participation and also lack of inclusion of women in scholarly documentation necessitated this study. The study made use of five objectives; examined the place of women in Nyamira County in the pre-colonial era and during the colonial rule, assessed whether there were any political, economic or socio-cultural factors that have impacted on women’s political participation of Nyamira women during the reign of Jomo Kenyatta 1963-1978, investigated whether Moi’s regime made any efforts to involve women in Nyamira County in political participation and finally established whether there have been any efforts made by Kibaki’s government to enhance the level of political participation of women in Nyamira County. This study made use of the Marxist feminist and gender theories. The targeted population was men and women aged 18 years and above in Nyamira County. Respondents were selected from each constituency on stratified random sampling and targeted at least 10 respondents from each constituency of Nyamira County. Data collection was done through question guidelines and interviews. The study therefore, found out that although women in the traditional set-up were to some extent subordinate to the men under the African customary Law, in many respects the roles of men and women were complementary in nature. Second, the study found out that the colonial policies, practices and missionary activities greatly affected the participation of women in political processes in the area. Third, the study found out that the participation of women in political processes during Kenyatta’s reign was very minimal. Fourth, the study found out that women’s participation in political processes prior to 1990s remained low but with the re-introduction of multi-party politics saw an increased political participation of women in Nyamira County. Finally, the study established that Kibaki’s government has made some efforts to enhance the level of political participation of women in the area. This study was important because it sought to fill the scholarly gap that exists, for example, some women in Nyamira who have been active in the past do not seem to be included in the scholarship, hence contribute to knowledge and literature in the area. The study may also contribute a lot to the government policy-makers and help in putting strategies in place that would realize women’s participation in political process.