Kenya’s High Court has ruled that the country’s parliament has just 60 days to ensure a third of lawmakers are women – or face dissolution.
Activists in the East African country on Monday welcomed the high court ruling, which followed a lengthy struggle to increase women’s political representation in the patriarchal society despite Kenya’s 2010 constitution guaranteeing women a third of parliamentary seats, the Voice of America (VOA) reported.
However, despite the 2010 ruling the male-dominated assembly has repeatedly prevented the passing of legislation to enact the quota.
Male lawmakers walked out of the chamber last May when they were expected to vote on the legislation. This followed three previous attempts to get the bill passed.
Furthermore, women interested in getting involved in politics are frowned upon and often face violence and intimidation while simultaneously lacking the political clout and money to get voted in by the big parties.
Kenya, which heads to the polls in August, has East Africa’s lowest representation of women in parliament at 19 percent, compared to 61 percent in Rwanda and 38 percent in Ethiopia, the Geneva-based International Parliamentary Union says.