Women And Leadership


Women And Leadership


Today, party roles in women’s campaigns to seek nominations and run for public office are vastly different from those at the beginning of the contemporary feminist era. Sexism still exists, but the party environment generally is much more friendly toward female candidates. Women have become important leaders in this world. Local and National party groups no longer control recruitment and nomination of candidates; therefore, prejudiced attitudes of “old pols” are of less concern to aspiring female politicians. National party organizations have emerged from campaign irrelevancy to become a source of significant resources, technology, and candidate assistance. The National committees’ of various countries philosophy towards women as nominees has passed through several stages – from indifference to special attention in the 1990s to mainstream in the 2000s. Party leaders now see female candidates as the rule as much as the exception. Some women are even party leaders to National parties that enjoy support Nationally. Women have access to the same resources and assistance as male candidates. Party organizations have become positive forces in women’s candidacies.

However, some women’s right activists view the situation differently. They look at the end results and see a problem. In Kenya when the dust settles on this country’s watershed election, one fact will remain clear: there will be more women in Kenya’s parliament then there has ever been in this country history. In the election which has gripped this country for much of the past two years, eight women contested governor positions, and 19 women sought seats in the country’s Senate. Some 165 women battled it out among the men for parliament’s 290 regular constituencies seats, while 155 women sought one of the “Women’s Representative” positions. These numbers may be encouraging but the growth of women’s representative here has been slow.

From history, Grace Monica Onyango was the first woman to be elected mayor in Kenya. In 1965, she was elected to run Kisumu Town on the shores of Lake Victoria. She received the permission of party leader Jaramogi Oginga Odinga – father of 2013 presidential aspirant Raila Amollo Ondinga– to stand parliament, winning the Kisumu constituency in 1969. In 1997, Wangari Maathai, later a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Charity Ngilu, Later a cabinet minister, became the first women to stand for president. In the ninth Parliament, from 2002 to 2007, just 18 women took seats in the nation’s hallowed chamber. In the nation’s tenth parliament which closed its doors before this election campaign in January, the number of women swelled to 22, 16 of whom were elected, and six were appointed. With 224 members, women made up just ten percent of parliament, a token two percent increase from the previous house.

It is now accepted that women have equal access to financial resources with male candidates once they obtain a major – party nomination, but access to early money is still believed to be more of a problem for female than for male candidates. Many political parties in Kenya are based on a system of patronage, said analysts, and many electable women candidates get knocked out at party primaries. The more entrenched women become in their political parties, the greater their chances of being elected. Parties are not equipped to provide greater resources in pre-primarily, contested races. But that is exactly what women’s rights activists would advocate.

The march towards equal representation for women clearly has some ways to go. But it is a journey that the women of this world know needs the backing of the entire world if they are to reach their destination. “We must give more education to women so that they can seek these elective posts,” Men should also not be left behind in this education. “It is up all of us – men and women – to promote equality.”
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