The Young Women’s Political Space

By Stephanie Muya Executive Director  Fortitude Kenya & Alliance for Transformational Change

For a very long time, women have been facing lots of discrimination. Kenya has made quite the improvements especially with regards to political rights. See now we have 47 electorate positions for women representatives and nominated positions as gender top-ups. I am definitely not complaining about this for sure.

I have heard several complaints that women representatives in Kenya are not working. So I ask as compared to who? Really… do they have people they can call role models in the Kenyan political scene? We now have Punguza Mizigo referendum campaign which is seeking to reduce the number of female legislators in Kenya. That’s taking us back to 2010 and is an outright violation of women’s rights. While I do agree our women representatives and legislators need to pull up their socks, reducing the number is like “taking us back to Egypt.”

Young women, in their quest for political leadership, get the short end of the stick. Take a look at the political parties; we have the women’s leagues where very few young women are able to participate in decision making processes and then we have the youth leagues which many say were really just created to keep youth in political parties looking busy. It is important to note that these youth leagues are led by young men. Aren’t young women youth too? Or are we not ready to get down and get dirty? Curious to find out though, with the exception of select parties, how many parties have given young people a space to be part of the decision making process? Any answer??..I thought so…

Thing is young women have to go out of their way to achieve their political rights to the maximum. When I say be ready to get dirty, I do not in any way insinuate that we should engage in corrupt activities. Corruption is not the way out. We are trying to break the culture. Difficult indeed especially after the recently launched Aga Khan Institute survey revealed that 35% of youth would easily take or give a bribe.

It is necessary to enhance measures that address the barriers that deter and frustrate young women from benefiting from the expanded political space and legislative benchmarks that encourage gender equity. This will require sharing of skills on campaign strategies, fundraising and financial management, the Constitution and policy making.

Not all is lost though, there is lots of hope. 75% of youth revealed that they would vote for a young person. Lets work towards ensuring that a greater percentage of those votes go to young women. This requires unity. And I know this probably is beginning to sound like the solidarity anthem but it is quite important. Working together to influence policy and also to strengthen each other in our campaigns etc will lead us to the ultimate goal. Lets also work beyond the stereotype that women cannot help each other. Build more bridges, burn less bridges. Lets not give life to the Seven Deadly Sins of Sisterhood as they have been coined.

I hope to see and active young women’s participation ahead of 2017 and definitely in more years to come.

Visit her blog for more inspirational articles:

By youthcountyprojects

This platform seeks to fill the knowledge and awareness gap regarding youth projects being implemented in the 47 counties in Kenya.
It also highlights projects focusing on youth being implemented in 47 counties in Kenya by the national government,county governments,donor agencies,civil society organisations (CSOs),Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs),Donor Agencies,Community Based Organisations (CBOs),private sector and individuals and their impact to the communities.
The projects lie within the social pillar,economic pillar and political pillar as enshrined in Vision 2030.
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