KENYA. A constitutional crisis surfaced in Kenya when one of its eminent judges called for the dissolution of Parliament. Along with that, the judge also recommended new parliamentary elections. With these proceedings, the role of women in politics has come once again under the scanner.
Two-third gender rule
As per the two-third gender rule, commonly termed as the ‘gender principle,’ not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender. The women in Kenya hold 22 percent of seats in the country’s lower house of Parliament and 31 percent in the upper house.
In a long letter addressed to President Uhuru Kenyatta by Justice David Maraga on 21 September, Maraga said that the parliament had “blatantly failed, refused and/or neglected to [pass any laws on gender parity].”
Women in politics
Though the role of women in politics has increased in recent years, the global rendezvous with the international target for reaching gender balance in political decision-making seems to be a far off dream.
According to reports, Spain has bagged the first rank in the “Women in Ministerial Positions” chart with 66.7% of women in politics. Finland grabbed the second spot with 61.1% of women in official posts. The average worldwide participation of women in parliament stands at a mere 24.9%.
As per the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the percentage of women in Kenya’s Parliament is lower than in other East African countries.
Need for gender parity
The global average participation of women is still not satisfactory. The world needs more women in politics as women have a talent for building consensus, strengthening unity, and have different leadership expertise than their male counterparts.
Gender experts say that women in politics face a barrage of challenges. They have to face physical and sexual violence and also have to deal with the lack of money to fund their political campaigns.
CJ Maraga, in his letter to the president, also said, “The dissolution of parliament will cause inconvenience and even economic hardship” but added that “… more often than not, there is no gain without pain.”