By Lillian Aluanga-Delvaux
Political parties have registered an improved representation of women within their ranks.
But even though all the 51 parties registered have met the one-third women representation rule as required by the new Constitutio, there still exist huge gender disparities in the composition of National Executive Committee (NEC) members among the outfits.
According to statistics from the Registrar of Political Parties, nearly all of the 51 parties listed have a less than 50 per cent representation of women within their NEC.
With the exception of Party of Independent Candidates of Kenya which has women making taking up 57 per cent of the NEC slots, Agano Party (53 per cent), National Party of Kenya (54 per cent), and Chama Cha Mwananchi (55 per cent), majority of the parties have a less than 40 per cent representation of women holding positions within the parties.
With only 33 per cent of women making up the list of officials, the Kenya National Congress, Alliance Party of Kenya, the Conservative Party, Social Democratic Party, and Ford Kenya are among those with the lowest representation of women in their National Executive Committees.
Parties that have less than 40 per cent representation of women among their NEC include: New Ford Kenya (34), Ford People (34), Narc-Kenya (37), Party of National Unity (34), Wiper Democratic Movement (34), The National Alliance (38), United Republican Party (38) and the United Democratic Forum Party (38).
Narrow the gap
Those that have tried to narrow the gap include the Grand National Union, with percentages for men against women at (53/ 47), respectively, Restore and Build Kenya (54/ 46), Party Of Action (53/47), Shirikisho party (55/45), Chama Cha Uzalendo (56/44) and Orange Democratic Movement (57/43).
Overall, women account for 39 per cent of slots within the National Executive Committees of political parties, with men taking the lion’s share at 61 per cent.
Fida Kenya Executive Director Grace Maingi-Kimani says the figures are telling of parties that are truly committed to the inclusion of women within their leadership.
“Most of these parties promise a 50-50 sharing of party positions, gender equality and women’s empowerment in their manifestos but the face of their leadership tells a different story,” she says.
Women, she says, must be vigilant both within and outside the parties to safeguard the gains promised by the new Constitution.
“It’s not enough for parties to give token positions to women simply to meet the one third rule as required by the Constitution, but parties must be seen to give a chance to women who are interested in contesting for top positions within the parties.