Is What is Good for the Gander also Good for The Goose?” Gender Quota Implementation in County Governments in Kenya
The gender quota threshold (Two-Thirds Gender Principle) refers to a strategy aimed at ensuring that both men and women are represented in political office and more specifically in reference to this study, in County Governments in Kenya. This stems from the consideration that adherence to the gender quota threshold enables both men and women to participate in decision-making, policy formulation and allocation of resources that is equitable in terms of gender needs within the counties. Although gender quotas have become popular in many countries, there are lots of debates on whether they are effective or not in increasing women’s participation in governance. This study adopted the qualitative research approach and a comparative research design where two Counties were purposively selected based on their gender representation in the County Assembly and County Executive and cultural differences. The data was collected in Makueni and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties and the findings analyzed thematically. The findings for this study were as follows: Firstly, implementation at the County Executive had put a ceiling on women’s representation; secondly, in both Counties, there was evidence of gender sensitive legislation being passed in the Assembly mainly by the women who had benefitted from the gender quota threshold; thirdly, the County Public Service Board had also been implementing the two-thirds gender principle despite the fact that in some professions it was difficult to meet the threshold; the fact that accountability and enforcement of the legislation was done by different actors both at the County Government level and at the National Government level and lastly, the finding that there were no other formal or informal rules to adhere to except considerations for marginalized groups and people living with disabilities. On recommendations, the Governors should set a good example and there is need for sensitization on the gender agenda at the grassroots level. In conclusion, gender quotas work differently in different contexts.
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