The Influence of Gender Quotas on Women’s Participation in Legislative Processes in the National Assembly of the 11th Parliament of Kenya (2013 -2017).
Anumo, Felogene Gor
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This study sought to explore whether indeed the increase in number of women occasioned by Affirmative Action principles in the 2010 Constitution of Kenya has enhanced women’s political participation in the National Assembly. The March 4, 2013 General Elections which ushered in the 11th Parliament were considered landmark owing to the fact this it was the first General Election to incorporate affirmative action seats. As the term of the 11th Parliament came to a close, it was highly important to find out how effective gender quotas have been in achieving meaningful change for women representatives. The study was guided by Hanna Pitkin’s (1967) framework that she employed in her work “Conception of Women’s Political Representation”. The study was additionally informed by Dahlerup (1988) “Critical Mass theory”. The study made use of cross-sectional descriptive study design. The study was done with members of KEWOPA from the National Assembly of the Parliament of Kenya. The membership of the association consists of all the women Members of Parliament from all the political parties both elected and nominated. The target population of the study were the 68 KEWOPA members from the National Assembly with a sample size of 40 respondents calculated using the Yamane model. Questionnaires were used as the main data collection tool alongside key informant interviews and in-depth interviews. Validity and reliability of the instruments were measured to ensure accuracy and consistency. The study data was analysed thematically. A descriptive approach was involved where direct quotes and selected comments from informants have been used to explain the trends. Triangulation of data was done by looking into complementary and divergent opinions across the key informant interviews and in-depth interviews. The findings of the study suggest that there is still need to create and expand opportunities for women parliamentarians to enable them become more active and effective participants in the legislative processes of the National Assembly. The most urgent measure may be to proactively address the barriers that deter and frustrate them from benefitting from the expanded political space and legislative safeguards related to gender equity. Consequently, the findings raises the question on what current efforts are being put in place by political parties and the Registrar of Political parties to ensure that the Affirmative Action policy is being implemented to ensure that women legislators feel politically empowered to take up leadership positions. The findings of the research are useful to assess the gains of women political representation and inform the lessons; experiences and funding that can be harnessed to strengthen effective women’s political participation in legislature and policy making. Secondly, the findings will contribute to informed public debate and critique on the effectiveness of women’s affirmative action for increased participation and visibility on political platforms. Finally, legislators in parliament and policy makers in government will benefit from insights into what it takes to effectively support women’s participation in legislative processes and how to leverage their numbers in parliament to the country’s advantage