Winnie Chepkwony: YES
The just concluded political party primaries have given us more insights on women leadership. Women politicians come out in large numbers and showed that they can wedge a battle with men and win. They also showed that women politicians can no longer be ignored or taken just as flower girls. My fellow Kenyans, women leadership is a phenomenon we can’t relegate to the back burner anymore.
However, women leaders still encounter numerous challenges, I remember coming across a strong debate on marriage and the ability for a woman to make decisions. The political arena in itself is not for the faint hearted, you learn to be firm, bold and open minded.
I observed keenly most of the female aspirants. I was saddened that young women still can’t stand to be counted. Those already ripe in politics took a large percentage of the contestants, we can take a look at the 10 gubernatorial women aspirants and I would call them the experienced politicians.
This is why we need experienced women leaders to mentor young women leaders. Political parties have a responsibility to equal opportunities for everyone and women are now coming out to claim power. They are more emboldened and need support from everyone. Leadership is a kind of growth, and women are taking it over. They are no longer shy of presenting themselves to the voters and seeking for their support.
Ms Chepkwony is a gender consultant
Eunice Shamallas: NO
Strategy has everything to do with a plan and a specific outcome in mind. Understanding what one wants and placing oneself strategically for a desired outcome is very important. Now, snippets of impressive outcomes across the country with respect to the still ongoing party primaries, one major win is the souring numbers of women offering themselves up as candidates in competitive politics.
In all positions, however, none of it can be said to have been strategic, or thought out properly. Undoubtedly women are a busy lot, but many fail to map the political environment, network and position themselves for key positions.
Kisumu County for instance, had three strong women candidates crowding to fight it out for the Woman Representative’s position. The ODM primaries for that position had neck to neck results, whereas the three women leaders could have gone for different positions and hopefully won.
Going forward we need stronger and more deliberate political party women leagues. This would ensure formidable results and produce more women in elective positions.
Finally, it was painful to watch the NASA Pentagon formed without a woman, a position that could have been possible through proper strategy.
Ms Shamallas is a lawyer