This research project seeks to appraise the two-thirds gender rule in enhancing women’s political representation in Kenya through affirmative action. This chapter explores the background of the study, statement of the problem, study objectives, specific objectives, research questions, significance of the study and scope of the study.
Background of study
Women political representation and inclusion is a social, economic, and political good in itself. It matters for democracy and gender equality. Democratic process requires the participation of all citizens. Deviating from this renders any attempts in promoting democracy as just other forms of fostering the social and political norms that created an unfair and unequal power sharing between men and women (Asiedu, 2016). The universal push for women’s political representation and participation is based on the deep conviction that there is a direct positive correlation between gender equity, development and good governance (Nzomo,2011).
The first three decades of post-colonial governance in regards to women political representation and participation were painstakingly slow due to a combination of structural impediments: i) deeply embedded patriarchal socio-cultural values and norms; ii) undemocratic institutions, buttressed by equally undemocratic and gender blind legal and policy frameworks and iii) low levels of civic and gender awareness. It is therefore not surprising that despite the active and effective role women played in the colonial liberation struggles, the first post-independence government under the late President Kenyatta did not have a single woman member of Parliament (Nzomo, 2011).
Kenya’s first parliament (1963-1969) set a precarious pace for gender equality as it was composed entirely by men. In the lead up to the first general election after independence, held in May 1963, some women fronted the idea of nomination to the legislature to the government (Nyabola & Pommerolle, 2018). Their requests were reported in the Daily Nation of 27th April 1963: