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Rights and the Role of Women in Politics

KAS Workshop in Cooperation with the Non-governmental Organisation SIKOM

The workshop on the topic “The Role of Women in Politics: Possibilities of Intervention” which took place from 17th to 18th of July, was organised by Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in West Pokot. The event focused on supporting women in West Pokot County to get informed about their rights and about different possibilities to become involved in politics as determined in the new constitution from 2010.

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This workshop was organized by the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation in collaboration with SIKOM, a non-governmental organisation, whose work area is inter alia conflict prevention, peace consolidation and organisation of events on public participation.

The workshop targeted an important issue in Kenya- namely the role of women in politics who are of great relevance for the Kenyan society. Women represent over 52 percent of the population and are therefore the majority voting block. The new Kenyan Constitution introduced a 2/3 gender principle for women in parliament which has still not been properly implemented. In many County Assemblies men still represent the majority and there are almost no women in political leadership positions, especially in the rural counties.

The workshop was necessary for a number of reasons. A majority of women have lack on information about the political intervention possibilities. And as a result they do not have the opportunities to develop the necessary political analytical skills to contribute to the political debate.

Together with the SIKOM moderators the challenges and opportunities for women in politics were discussed. Particularly, the need to support women in strengthening their leadership capacities and education was made clear. One of the key outcomes of the workshop was the realization that kenyan women do need men’s support for their rise in politics. This is currently not the case, even not for building leadership skills get education, where men’s support is required as well. The participants were also informed about constitutional rights and duties, the upcoming bills and about their consequences.

All in all, the participants came to the conclusion that gender equality in politics fosters the diversity in policy and contributes to a critical decision making process. By the end of the workshop participants also planned to sign a petition from August 2015 onwards to push for a change in the constitution and to ensure that the gains of women are protected by law. Moreover, participants identified the organisations which are active on issues of women rights in West Pokot and further possibilities of public participation.

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