Enhancing women’s participation in political leadership and decision-making

As Kenya strives for gender equality, women’s participation in political leadership remains a critical focal point. Women face unique challenges in the political arena, necessitating tailored approaches to enhance their opportunities and ensure protection from discrimination.

This calls for efforts to support women in decision-making roles, enabling them to effectively advocate for legislation and policies that advance the interests of women and girls. In alignment with these efforts, UN Women advocates for legislative and constitutional reforms to ensure women’s equitable access to political spheres as voters, candidates, elected officials and civil service members.

Hon. Greg Fergus, the Canadian Speaker of the House of Commons, led a delegation from Canada to Kenya in April 2024, and paid a courtesy call to members of the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA) to discuss progress, challenges, and solutions in women’s political leadership in Kenya. Speaking during his address at the courtesy call, Hon. Fergus said “We laud KEWOPA for fulfilling its unwavering distinctive mandate of promoting and protecting democracy while advocating for women’s rights for more than two decades. More women are stepping forward to contest for political positions, breaking traditional barriers and stereotypes,”.

KEWOPA Chairperson, Hon. Leah Sankire while sharing insights on women’s political leadership in Kenya said “We acknowledge the support that KEWOPA has received from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) that has contributed to the advancement of women’s representation.”

“UN Women is proud to work closely with KEWOPA to enhance women’s participation in political leadership and decision-making. Through targeted interventions, significant progress has been achieved in advancing gender equality within Kenya’s legislative sphere,” said Anna Mutavati.

UN women is collaborating with KEWOPA on various areas. KEWOPA, with funding from Global Affairs Canada, conducted an induction for newly elected Members of Parliament following the 2022 elections, emphasizing the retention of experienced legislators.

Additionally, technical assistance was provided by UN Women for the development and launch of KEWOPA’s 2023-27 Strategic Plan, aimed at guiding legislative direction in the 13th Parliament and enhancing its representative and oversight roles.

Moreover, the collaboration has facilitated advocacy efforts for the implementation of the two-thirds gender principle in the National Assembly, including awareness forums and engagement with the multi-sectoral working group.

Together, we have also strengthened the capacity of Members of Parliament through training, mentorship, and constituency outreach initiatives, creating an enabling environment where women can fully exercise their political rights.  

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Women – Africa.

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