The relationship between increased number of women in parliament and enactment of gender sensitive legislation in the 10th parliament, Kenya
This was an unobtrusive study designed to analyze the legislative inputs by women parliamentarians in gender related legislation and in establishing whether the Standing Orders are an impediment to women parliamentarians in influencing the enactment of gender sensitive legislation. Specifically it sought to establish the relationship between increased numbers of women and enactment of gender-sensitive legislation in the lOth Parliament. The study population included all the gender-related bills tabled by women and men parliamentarians in the 10th Parliament: Further, an analysis of the Standing Orders was conducted and the views of three key informants were sought on whether the Orders impede women parliamentarians' contribution to gender-sensitive legislation. A combination of purposive and systematic sampling was used to sample bills to be analyzed. The legislations selected were clustered into three main categories: political, socio-cultural and economic and listed alphabetically. The number of gender-related bills identified was thirty-three thus the first three in each category were selected and analyzed for the study. Purposive sampling was used to select three key informants that are senior parliamentary staff based on the fact that they sit in all parliamentary proceedings in the Chambers to give their views on the Standing Orders and women parliamentarians' legislative inputs. In addition to this, secondary data sources such as publications by the research department in Parliament were used. Data were analyzed thematically .. A descriptive approach was used to articulate the legislative inputs by women that have gender connotations and the views of the three key informants. The study findings indicate that an increased number of women in parliament has contributed to the enactment of gender-sensitive legislation. However, the Standing Orders are an impediment to women parliamentarians' effective participation in influencing the enactment of gender sensitive legislation. In conclusion, there is need to increase the number of women parliamentarians in parliament and to continuously build their capacities on social, political and economic issues so that they are able to address them succinctly in legislative processes and to contribute to the enactment of gender sensitive legislation. Further, they need to understand the Standing Orders so that they can use them strategically to move the gender agenda in parliament and identify gender sensitive male parliamentarians to support them. This study recommends that male involvement is key to influencing enactment of gender sensitive legislation. Thus, civil society organizations including the Women's Parliamentary Caucus and the Kenya Women Parliamentary Association (KEWOPA) need to identify male parliamentarians that support the gender agenda so that their capacities can be further enhanced to influence the enactment of gender sensitive legislation. Parliament and other parliamentary strengthening programmes should strive to build the capacities of women parliamentarians on the Standing Orders to enable them to move the gender agenda in parliament strategically. Finally, there is need to conduct further research to establish the legislative input by male parliamentarians in mainstreaming gender in legislation.