In Kenya’s highly patriarchal environment, women have constantly faced numerous electoral crises when seeking political office. They range from gender biases in party nominations to negative socio-cultural attitudes from the electorate even to electoral violence instigated against women. Nonetheless, women are increasingly taking the plunge into electoral politics. Some have organised themselves into coalitions or caucuses and have played catalytic roles in encouraging more women to compete in political elections. Women’s rights organisations such as CREAW and AMWIK have become Gender Development Centres and are disseminating gender-sensitive information geared towards improving women’s political, social, economic and health status — factors that are essential for the achievement of sustainable development. These women’s rights activist centres continue to advocate government action to eliminate inequalities between men and women in order to advance their equal participation in all areas.
In an attempt to influence change in the leadership through equal participation and representation, CREAW in partnership with AMWIK, and with the support of Heinrich Böll Foundation, embarked on various consultations which culminated in this booklet. It will prove an invaluable tool for any woman candidate seeking political office in Kenya. It provides a political scan of the Kenyan electorate and provides political insights geared towards helping women candidates to gather the votes. We believe that it is by the empowerment of women and their participation in political decision making processes that the voices of Kenyan women will be heard. And this handbook is one of our major steps towards achieving this.