Carter Center Releases Legal Brief on Gender Quota in Kenya, Calls for Implementing Legislation and Resources

Contact: Soyia Ellison,

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ATLANTA —In advance of International Women’s Day on March 8, a Carter Center brief highlights the need for Kenya’s Parliament to take action to facilitate women’s active and effective participation in civic and political affairs. While Kenya’s 2010 Constitution introduced progressive provisions to support women’s inclusion in elected and appointed bodies, Parliament has failed to pass the necessary implementing legislation to ensure more balanced gender representation at the national level.

The Carter Center report released today analyzes the legal status of Kenya’s two-thirds gender quota. It urges lawmakers to prioritize the passage of legislation required by Kenya’s Constitution to implement the gender quota and to provide sufficient resources and an enabling environment for constitutional bodies and commissions to enforce the gender quota requirements.

The Carter Center observed Kenya’s 2017 general election and found that women faced serious challenges in running for elective office. While they made some gains, the current National Assembly and Senate fall short of the country’s constitutional provisions that mandate no more than two-thirds of the members of all elected and appointed public bodies shall be of the same gender. In court cases challenging the constitutionality of Kenya’s parliamentary makeup, the High Court ruled that Parliament should pass implementing legislation to progressively meet these goals or risk dissolution. Legislation to implement these provisions has failed twice in the past six months, after Parliament did not reach quorum.

The Carter Center in Kenya:

The Carter Center’s international election observation mission monitored key parts of the electoral process from April through November 2017. The Center followed up its mission with the deployment of experts from February to August 2018 to conduct further activities focused on information and communications technology, legal reform, and women’s and youth participation.


Gender Quota Legal Brief (PDF) »




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A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.