Gender Quotas and the Implications of Women’s Tokenism in Governance: Case Study of Kenya’s Two-Thirds Gender Rule

Abstract:

Globally, governance has been characterized as a masculinized field. This has resulted in women’s representational and participatory crises triggering gender imbalances and inequalities in governance respectively. Therefore, in efforts to achieve gender balance and equality in governance, gender quotas were established as affirmative action tools manifesting differently from state to state. Gender quotas became instrumental in increasing women's numbers in governance as they make their presence a standard requirement. Unfortunately, gender quotas have been accused of exacerbating women’s tokenism in governance because of addressing women’s representational crisis more than their participatory crisis. As a result, despite women’s increased representation which makes their presence seen, most women’s substantial participation remains limited yet, participation is what makes women’s presence felt and their voices heard. Against this backdrop, this research, employed a mixed research methodology and a descriptive research design to examine Kenya’s two-thirds gender rule as a gender quota case study. The study was conducted at the State Department for Gender, NGEC, FIDA, and CREAW. The research findings revealed that in Kenya: Since the two-thirds gender rule inception in 2010, there has been a gradual increase in women’s representation in governance, especially in appointive positions. However, the gender rule threshold is yet to be achieved and governance remains a masculinized field. Furthermore, women’s tokenism is apparent because most women’s participation is lagging behind their representation in governance. This is attributable to how women in governance still face many challenges in asserting their leadership and presence in a male-dominated field, creating a gap in the quality of their leadership and minimizing their staying power in such positions. These challenges mainly arise due to how patriarchy creates a lot of societal resistance to women’s leadership and, imposes self-limiting beliefs on most women thus curtailing their support for each other as they undermine their own and each other’s leadership capabilities. Additionally, most women are unable to circumvent the participatory barriers in governance due to inadequate capacity building on governance matters. As a result, most women’s participation remains limited in governance yet, it is participation that substantiates representation and gives quality to leadership by enabling women to have a voice not just in gender matters but also in social, economic, and political state affairs. Therefore, this study has proposed how the following key strategies can be implemented to redress women’s tokenism by reinforcing the two-thirds gender rule in achieving a more holistic gender balance and equality in governance; multispectral approach, dismantling the patriarchal governance structures, gender rule enforcement measures, and capacity-building initiatives. Moreover, these strategic approaches will also be instrumental in transforming the two-thirds gender rule from being a numbers-based to a merit-based mechanism that promotes women’s representation and participation in governance.
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APA

Wanjiku, M (2024). Gender Quotas and the Implications of Women’s Tokenism in Governance: Case Study of Kenya’s Two-Thirds Gender Rule. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/gender-quotas-and-the-implications-of-women-s-tokenism-in-governance-case-study-of-kenya-s-two-thirds-gender-rule

MLA 8th

Wanjiku, Mithamo "Gender Quotas and the Implications of Women’s Tokenism in Governance: Case Study of Kenya’s Two-Thirds Gender Rule" Afribary. Afribary, 04 May. 2024, https://afribary.com/works/gender-quotas-and-the-implications-of-women-s-tokenism-in-governance-case-study-of-kenya-s-two-thirds-gender-rule. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

MLA7

Wanjiku, Mithamo . "Gender Quotas and the Implications of Women’s Tokenism in Governance: Case Study of Kenya’s Two-Thirds Gender Rule". Afribary, Afribary, 04 May. 2024. Web. 26 May. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/gender-quotas-and-the-implications-of-women-s-tokenism-in-governance-case-study-of-kenya-s-two-thirds-gender-rule >.

Chicago

Wanjiku, Mithamo . "Gender Quotas and the Implications of Women’s Tokenism in Governance: Case Study of Kenya’s Two-Thirds Gender Rule" Afribary (2024). Accessed May 26, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/gender-quotas-and-the-implications-of-women-s-tokenism-in-governance-case-study-of-kenya-s-two-thirds-gender-rule