Participation of women in trade union leadership in The Kenya National Union Of Teachers, Kisumu County
This study was carried out in Kisumu County and focused on the participation of women in trade union leadership in the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT). The motivating force behind the study was the disparity in gender composition of the top union leadership. While unions have taken proactive steps to promote diversity in leadership, there is still a gap. Women still hold fewer leadership positions than men in trade unions. The objective of the study was to establish the factors affecting participation of women in the leadership of KNUT in Kisumu County. The study employed a descriptive survey design. From a population of 5000 KNUT members, a sample of 360 was selected using stratified random sampling .The study was based on primary data which was collected using questionnaires. Data analysis was done using descriptive and inferential statistics (factor analysis). The study found majority of the respondents willing to elect women to top leadership positions but the most suitable position being that of treasurer, not chairperson or secretary general. The results indicated that the reasons for fewer women than men in KNUT leadership are twofold: first, not many women get elected into leadership positions and secondly, not many women contest for positions. The reasons for fewer women getting elected include the perception that men make better leaders than women, women are less assertive than men, women are too gentle and soft spoken to handle union affairs and that culturally leadership is not an appropriate role for women . On the other hand, not many women contest for union positions because of hostile reactions from male counterparts, the assertion that women have not been socialized to aspire for leadership positions and that men occupying existing union structures perpetuate prejudices, values and stereotypes unfavourable to women. The collaboration between fewer women contesting for KNUT elective positions in Kisumu County and fewer women getting elected to leadership positions has conspired to keep women representation in top leadership minimal. There is much that KNUT can do to balance the gender composition of its leadership. Affirmative action can correct the imbalance by creating special seats for women. The union can undertake deliberate rethinking and restructuring of union workload to incorporate women. To safeguard against gender role stereotypes, the union should educate and re-educate members, state and re-state that men and women have equal potential for individual development.