Affirmative Action - Gender Programs 

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Affirmative action is an effort that is geared towards tackling or rectifying the conventional injustices founded on gender, race, and culture. This takes the approach of strategies and packages that are on many occasions mandated by regimes and are geared towards the realization of required alterations in learning institutions, commercial entities, and other establishments. ‘Affirmative action' manifests in two great kinds, that is, "weak" and "strong" ‘affirmative action.' It is good to note that, weak affirmative action regards the utilization of strategies and processes to mitigate prejudice activities and allow the availing of equal opportunity. Contrarily, strong “affirmative action” regards the use of approaches and processes to favor particular populace based on their “gender,” “race,” in addition to culture. This manifests well as privileged treatment that are on many occasions implemented through favoring strategies, quota structures, and policy articles (Amy et al., 2006).
Affirmative action in Kenya particularly aims to benefit groups (women, youth, the physically and mentally challenged persons, and people from the arid areas) that are considered marginal. These collections of individuals require affirmative action to obtain fairness for their present and conventional injustices that they suffered or were exposed to in the past days. Nonetheless, the ‘affirmative action’ strategy is currently part of the Kenyan Constitution as stipulated in the seventh section article 81b. This affirms that not in excess of two-thirds of the associates of elective community establishments shall come from the matching gender (quote as in the constitution). This inclusion tries to work against one fundamental tenet of judicial validation (justice as fairness), and hence fails the sensitiveness test.

Goals of Affirmative Action in Kenya
One of the primary goals of affirmative action regards the fight for political gender space for women. This happens because the country`s demographic composition portrays the need for active engagement of women in the central decision-making establishments, as a way to empower them. There is a clear pointer that although women form the majority of the electorate composition, they remain under-represented in leadership ranks (AWCFS, 2007). Moreover, their involvement in electoral political right from the country`s independence has been limited to offering back up to male political partakers. With the new political indulgence in Kenya, there is a greater desire for good gender involvement in the attainment and exercise of exclusive authority. Repeal of section 2A of the constitution in the early 90s in some way offered the chance for multiparty democracy and enhanced women`s participation in political issues. However, a recent survey in Kenya shows that women comprise the majority of the electorate and that their level of involvement in ballot vote partisan affairs is little (contradictory). Thus, the goal of affirmative action is set to address this political gender space by empowering and allowing more women to participate actively in politics and elective positions.
In relation to this objective, a number of actions have been directed towards attainment of ‘affirmative action.’ One of the most debated objectives of strong affirmative action has been the increase of women`s seats in parliament either automatically or by other means. For example, the 2007 Affirmative Action Bill, which sought to lobby for fifty automatic seats for women in the parliament. However, this was manifested as the powerful, contrary argument, and opposition from the public against the idea of the fifty automatic seats (Anthony et al., 2007). This was manifested when the bill was subjected to opinion poll process at the national level, and pollsters asked participants regarding their thought about whether women deserved the fifty special seats in parliament as proposed in the constitutional amendment bill. Although there was more than fifty percent of those who supported the bill, the opposing group felt women had to compete for the same seats with men in seeking ballot votes to get parliamentary seats.
The Political Issues of Gender
Women in Kenya have steadily been sidelined in partisan issues about key positions right from independence to a period up to 2010. This is so though women encompass in excess of 50% of the country`s inhabitants. The patriarchal communities in which women operate make certain that men emerge on top in partisan and public engagements. As a consequence, women have not had fair chances to contribute to a community, particularly in the decision making and in leadership positions. In some communities, it is forbidden for women to act as rivals with men. Thus, men do not encounter any serious rivalry for elective positions as women shy away citing public displeasure in their political ambitions. Persistent marginalization of women`s ascendancy and political positions has led to the denial of women`s privileges, their unequal access to resources and the disempowerment of women in general. In accordance, this has resulted in inequitable involvement in the progression (The Republic of Kenya, 2010). When women get involved in control there would be unbiased and sustainable advancement alternative that would enhance both the excellence of existence of social groups.
It is arguable that the only means to attain unbiased representation of women are by securing gender parity and reasonable standards in the constitution. This stand is boosted by the fact that the country is a member of some essential global tools (for example, UN committee on discrimination against women) that declare the equality of gender and fundamental human privileges. It is important to point out that, there are some reasons why there is reduced portrayal of women at the leadership or political positions at all levels. The primary reason is that there exist gender reckless policies of exclusive parties and socio-cultural judgments held by the eligible voters. Women also encounter technical and monetary constraints, especially candidates vying for specific political elective positions. In essence, this comes in addition to the masculine nature of the Kenyan political affairs and environment that is occasionally characterized by graft, violence, and intimidation.
There is reasonable proof of the existence of little competence and visibility of women in parliament and other control position. The other thing that is blamed for the low women participation in political affairs is the lack of mentoring and role modeling for young and emerging women`s aspirants for public office. Continued sidelining of gender concerns in the domestic arena, national policy making, and legislation and partisan parties is also another reason women lag behind in political elective and appointive positions. The other reason also points to the diminished responsibility by the administration and MPs towards women as constituency heads and gender parity matters.
Political Context
In essence, there are numerous political issues surrounding gender in Kenya and one of them regards the country political context (complete gender equality and equity profile, and the cost of gender exclusion). This has been manifested well during the transitional process that offered chances and confrontations, for instance, the Kibaki`s administration revealed the essence of an established gender sensible, legal policy, and institutional construction. The new parliament secretaries that came to be named show there is a new pattern that is revealed in relation to the new appointed parliament secretaries. This is a trend in which the number of women has started to increase and there were at least five women, and eighty percent of them held strategic assortments. As time went by three women remained with their positions and at the time there were no quotas as well as policy on affirmative action. Thus, this absence meant that it was not possible to lobby for more women to the senior appointive positions of decision-making (Kaimenyi et al., 2013). At this point, there was no possibility of the authoritative starting of the institutional and legal construction for the regime to use in adopting gender issues. The women`s bureau came into force to from being a limited mandate to a complete department where a gender commission was then in the foresight from the eyes of the gender, sports, and culture minister. In 2003, there were only three women as cabinet ministers and three assistant ministers, and this represented the highest number ever reached in Kenya`s history on gender parity when it come to political and decision-making positions. This shows that there is much to be achieved to ascertain equality between the sexes in the decision about elective an appointive position. There was a myriad of challenges that comprised of a legacy systemic, institutionalized and authorized gender prejudice, weak central gender apparatus and lack of central strategy on gender. These challenges inhibited redressing of the equilibrium and the creation certain of an equitable strategy and permissible construction.
About control, it appears that in Kenya women`s access to and control over resources is nearly non-existent, and this comes because they only own a one percent of the registered land, but they form about seventy-five percent of the agricultural workforce. In essence, women capacity to organize at the society level has not been translated into a partisan clout. This is so since they encompass around 8% of the headship in the local administrations. This implies that local government transformation and community access to and control of resources are essential aspects of making sure that there is gender parity in the country. Assessing women`s access to and control over property requires some laws (matrimonial, family, and succession) to be enforced. The old constitution of African customary law pointed out that women did not have any property privileges while in marriage. Furthermore, the law as also silent on what takes place when a marriage of this kind is dissolved. The old constitution discriminated against women by offering a legal structure that institutionalized their hardship. Hence, women in the past had to champion through partisan avenues to be heard and to be permitted access to public establishments. This resulted in the creation of the “Kenya women parliamentary association,” KEWOPA.
Further, this has had an unending quest for women to be heard, and their plight to be addressed through the affirmative action policies. KEWOPA as a cross-party women`s partisan caucus is a means that makes certain the issues affecting women are incorporated into legislation. It is an essential partner for many donors and establishments that are geared towards good governance and the privileges of women and children in the country. KEWOPA`s capacity building approach applies to the backing of MPs straightforward so as they can administer the competing demands of their parliamentary duties, partisan party accountabilities, and constituency tasks. The need to augment women`s perspective and to identify of the fundamental challenges that women have in attaining a place in parliament. One of the goals is for KEWOPA is to uphold the KEWOPA achieves this by offering support to women MPs in their constituencies. Further, one of the interventions that the gender and governance program addressed regarded accountability with the administration of CDF as one of the means to dissolve decision-making to the local level (Kaimenyi et al., 2013). In essence, KEWOPA assumes project administration training programs for PMCs in every of their member`s constituency, to allow the members deliver quality services to their constituents. Such engagements affirm good governance and portray positive attributes about and MP`s performance. The training packages have on some occasions resulted into augmented lucidity, particularly in association with procurement procedures that are possible areas for graft activities.
Lobby Efforts
KEWOPA has been at the forefront of lobbying for women matters, and its triumph has also been manifested in the establishment of the Equal Opportunities Committee, EOC. The EOC came into being towards the end of the last decade after there were concentrated efforts in lobbying for its creation. Its core aspect regards the examination, reporting, and the making of recommendations on all matters pertaining prejudice associated with gender ethnicity, and disability. KEWOPA comes in to assist the committee in strategic setting up and capacity building to permit its associates to comprehend the EOC mandate (Kaimenyi et al., 2013). This is achieved by underlining the bills that require being brought to parliament and offering professional advice, study, and apparatus to give power to the associates. KEWOPAs then an essential union that targets women MPs with the core purpose of making sure that women`s agenda is put into perspective, and all bills impacting women are pushed to go through in parliament.
Affirmative Action Lobbied by Women for Constitutional Amendment
In this sense, women politicians have had to strive for change through positive action that was lobbied towards constitutional amendment. They did this regarding the outstanding 2007 Bill for the amendment when they launched vigorous affirmative action or petition to gather about a million signatures to back their need to force parliament to pass the bill. This signifies the struggle women political figures have had to endure so as their political ambitions may come to fruition. This process occurred following culmination of some public rallies, road shows, and other initiatives by women and their male supporters to gain support for the affirmative action (Carens, 2005). The affirmative action process that sought the creation of fifty individual seats for women and new forty constituencies in the country came as a bill put forth by the then justice and constitutional affairs minister Martha Karua. Although the former attorney general Wako and Kimunya argued for the amendment, the affirmative action bill in the tenth parliament met strong opposition from the public and parliamentarians (THE WORLD BANK, 2003). Here, the attorney general and justice and constitutional affairs minister were accused by MPs of sneaking the affirmative action clause into the constructional revision statement, and Wako was chided for outlining a defective affirmative action statement.
MPs across the political divide who were opposed to the bill cited that critical provisions on nomination approach had not been addressed as required by law. The clause of the particular fifty seats did not offer the elaboration on how the number of posts arrived at and the qualifications for anyone deemed suitable for the positions. It was also questionable as to why the clause was sneaked and combined in a bill that sought to augment the number of constituencies. It appeared that the bill did not address the strategy in the case where party leader did not embrace the affirmative action. Hence, this opened room for party leaders to reward their mates the nomination spaces availed. The bill was also found defective by MPs who cited its lack of inclusion of the physically challenged, visual impaired, the youth, and people from the minority common set ups. The women behind the clause in the bill desired to push MPs to establish into the bill law that will improve affirmative action about representation in parliament.
In conclusion, it has been realized that women establishments have recognized that sensitizing women are not sufficient, and there has to be the removal of structural and institutional barriers to allow great strides in affirmative action. The other thing noted is that the gap between women`s representation would only eventually be held through legislation regarding affirmative action. Furthermore, there is still no answer to the question of whether policy ought to precede consciousness or consciousness ought to precede policy. The other matter noted is that women still participate as electorates but still there is a need to do a report on whether their ballot vote achieves efficiency desired. Thus, there is the need for women to get engaged as leaders and as electorates, and this is important because the charter review still holds the hugest outlook for females. In the mid of the last decade majority of Kenyans got involved in a statewide referendum to vote for a proposed charter that had an outcome of about sixty percent of electorates who voted against the proposal.
However, in the subsequent amendment to the plan and a new version allowed Kenyans to adopt and new charter about five years ago and this has brought with it new light as it ahs clauses regarding affirmative action. The other point of the conclusion is that sensitivity and consciousness do not imply that individuals will act appropriately, and a viewpoints and values take long to get altered. Hence, the partisan alteration has to precede outlook adjustment with the new constitution and new level of the partisan arena; prospects ought to be brighter and enthusiastic towards women. In Kenya, the law has to handle cultural matters that undermine women involvement and presently the law has gaps regarding some topics associated with the ladies and strengthening of practices. Increasingly, support for aspiring women is significant since many have been found ignorant regarding electoral laws and processes involved.
In the end, is vital that female candidates recognize themselves with a party of their selection. This is aimed at helping them augment their chances of getting nominated by the party to run for the positions they are interested in since there is prejudice in party nomination activities. Another very essential aspect is that women require monetary back up to augment their chances of winning. Accordingly, in Kenya women need close to $30,000 to carry out efficient campaigns successfully. These funds are used for logistics, preparation of agents, travel and interactions, profiling and promotion, and most often feeding the constituents.

African woman and Child Future Service (AWCFS) (2007). 50 Special Seats for Women, Debate and Media Coverage Report. Nairobi: Affirmative Action Bill on 50 Special Women‘s seats in Parliament.
Amy, C. et al. (2006). “Gender, Race, and Affirmative Action: Operational Inter-sectionality in Survey Research.” The Gender and Society 20(6): 805-825.
Anthony, F. et al (2007). “Affirmative Action Policy and Changing Views.” The Journal of Business Ethics 74(1): 65-71.
Carens, J. (2005). “Compensatory Justice and Social Institutions.” Economics and Philosophy 1(1): 39-56, 65-7.
Kaimenyi, C. et al. (2013). “An Analysis of Affirmative Action: The Two-Thirds Gender Rule in Kenya.” International Journal of Business, Humanities and Technology 3(6).
Republic of Kenya. (2010). The Constitution of Kenya. Nairobi: Government Printer.
THE WORLD BANK. (2003). The Kenyan Strategic Country Gender Assessment. THE WORLD BANK.

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