Gender Quotas Database

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Kenya (Republic of Kenya)

Kenya (Republic of Kenya) has a Bicameral parliament with the use of voluntary party quotas. 76 of 350 (22%) seats in the National Assembly are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • For the Single/Lower House? Yes
  • For the Upper House? Yes
  • For the Sub-National Level? Yes

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties? Yes

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Apr 16, 2019

Single/Lower House

National Assembly

Total seats 350
Total Women 76
% Women 22%
Election Year 2017
Electoral System FPTP
Quota Type Reserved seats
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Reserved seats Constitution Article 27 (8) of the 2010 Constitution states that the ‘State shall take legislative and other measures to implement the principle that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender.’ Furthermore, Article 81 (b) stipulates that the electoral system shall comply with the principle that ‘not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender’. The constitution reserves 47 seats in the National Assembly for women deputies elected from 47 counties, with each county constituting a single-mandate constituency. These seats are to be contested only by women candidates nominated by political parties in these counties. In addition, the National Assembly will have 290 elected members, each elected by voters of single-mandate constituencies, and 12 members nominated by political parties to represent special interests including the youth, persons with disabilities and workers, with the relevant list to be composed of alternating male and female candidates (Article 97 of the constitution of Kenya, adopted August, 2010).
Electoral law  
Legal sanctions for non-compliance Political Parties Act A party is not eligible for public funding if more than 2/3 of its elected officials are of one gender (Article 25(2) (b) Political Parties Act, 2011).
Rank order/placement rules Constitution and Electoral law

Except in the case of the seats reserved for women, each party list representing special interests (youth, persons with disabilities and workers) comprises the appropriate number of qualified candidates and alternates between male and female candidates in the priority in which they are listed. (Article 90 (2:b) of the 2010 Constitution and Article 36 (2) of the Elections Act 2011)

Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates? Yes

The Political Parties Act 2011 states that a political party shall not be entitled to receive funding from the Fund if more than two-thirds of its registered office bearers are of the same gender


See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database
Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties? Yes, funds earmarked for gender activities

Section 26 of the Political Parties Act 2011 states that moneys allocated to a registered political party from the Fund shall be used for purposes compatible with democracy including promoting the representation in Parliament and in the county assemblies of women, persons with disabilities, youth, ethnic and other minorities and marginalised communities


See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database

Upper House

Upper House Senate

Total seats 68
Total Women 21
% Women 31%
Election Year 2017
Electoral System First-past-the-post
Quota Type Reserved seats>
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Reserved seats Electoral law

The Senate is established in accordance with Article 98 of the Constitution and is composed of 47 members elected from single-mandate constituencies (counties); 16 seats allocated to women members, nominated by political parties according to the proportion of seats won in the Senate; 2 seats to members representing the young (one woman and one man); and 2 seats to members representing persons with disabilities (one woman and one man).

Legal sanctions for non-compliance Political Parties Act A party is not eligible for public funding if more than 2/3 of its elected officials are of one gender (Article 25(2) (b) Political Parties Act, 2011).
Rank order/placement rules Constitution

[Electoral law provision included]

Except in the case of the seats reserved for women, each party list representing special interests (youth, persons with disabilities and workers) comprises the appropriate number of qualified candidates and alternates between male and female candidates in the priority in which they are listed. (Article 90 (2:b) of the 2010 Constitution and Article 36 (2) of the Elections Act 2011).

Quota at the Sub-National Level

  • Quota type: Reserved seats
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Reserved seats Constitution

The new Constitution provides that no more than two-thirds of the membership of the county assembly is of the same gender. In order to ensure this, every county assembly shall consist of members elected by voters in each ward (each ward constituting a single member constituency) and a number of ‘special seat members’. The holders of these special seats should be nominated by political parties in proportion with seats received in that county by each political party. (Articles 175 (c), 177 (1:b) and 197 (1))

Electoral law  
Legal sanctions for non-compliance N/A Not applicable
Rank order/placement rules Constitution and Electoral law

Each party list representing special interests (youth, persons with disabilities and workers) comprises the appropriate number of qualified candidates and alternates between male and female candidates in the priority in which they are listed. (Article 90 (2:b) of the 2010 Constitution and Article 36 (2) of the Elections Act 2011).

Voluntary Political Party Quotas*

Party Official name Details, Quota provisions
Democratic Party Democratic Party [DP] The Democratic Party has a policy of affirmative action that reserves one third of all seats for women (which has not always been put into practice).
SAFINA Party SAFINA Party [SAFINA] Constitution : The party Election Rules and Procedures provide that at least 1/3 of all elected officials in the branch or national level should be of either gender. (Article 1.1 Pg.18 Nomination rules & Procedures Parliamentary & civic Candidates)
National Rainbow Coalition National Rainbow Coalition [NARC] Constitution: party’s gender policy is that 1/3 of all nominated persons should at a minimum come from each gender.

* Only political parties represented in parliament are included. When a country has legislated quotas in place, only political parties that have voluntary quotas that exceed the percentage/number of the national quota legislation are presented in this table.

Additional Information

In 1997 a constitutional amendment was passed which allowed the President to appoint 12 nominated seats in parliament. Six of these seats had been reserved for women. A major constitutional reform process, which marked the adoption of the new Constitution in August 2010, mandated the establishment of the new, bicameral parliament, and provided for reserved seats for women and gender parity in candidate lists. In addition, the Political Parties Act 2011 provides financial incentives aiming to promote women’s political participation. In particular, a political party shall not be entitled to receive public funding if ‘more than two-thirds of its registered office bearers are of the same gender’. The Act also stipulates that public funding allocated to registered political parties shall be used for purposes compatible with democracy, including ‘promoting the representation in Parliament and in the county assemblies of women, persons with disabilities, youth, ethnic and other minorities and marginalized communities’.

The new constitutional provisions for gender equality in the electoral system were first implemented in the March 2013 general elections. Importantly, in the run up to the elections, the Attorney General of Kenya sought the opinion of the Supreme Court on the issue of the manner of applicability of the constitutional requirement of no less than two-thirds of one sex in the composition of any public body to these elections. In its ruling the Court favored the progressive implementation of this principle.

Sources

LEGAL SOURCES:

OTHER SOURCES:

Additional reading

  • Frankson, J.R. (ed.). 2001. The First Step: Getting in the Door. New York: WEDO.
  • Duri, P.F. 1999. ‘Women in the Shadow of Politics’, WomanPlus, 6, No.3, p. 24.
  • Inter-Parliamentary Union. 1997. Democracy Still in the Making: A World Comparative Study. Geneva: Inter-Parliamentary Union.
  • Kabebari-Macharia, J. 1997. ‘Asserting the Right to Political Decision-making’, GENDEReview – Kenya's Women and Development Quarterly 4. No. 1. p. 13-14.
  • Ondego, O. 1997. ‘Obstacles to women's empowerment’, GENDEReview – Kenya's Women and Development Quarterly 4, No. 2: 5-6.
  • House-Midamba, B. 1996. ‘Gender, Democratization, and Associational Life in Kenya’, Africa Today, Vol. 43, No. 3: pp. 289-305.
  • Kenya Parliament website, http://www.parliament.go.ke/
  • The Constitution of Kenya Review Commission, http://kenyalaw.org/kl/fileadmin/CommissionReports/Report-of-the-constitution-of-Kenya-review-commission.pdf

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