Empowering Communities: Insights From the Recently Concluded Community Dialogues

Over the past few months, a series of impactful community dialogues took place in various counties across Kenya including, Homabay, Kisii, Kericho, Samburu, Embu, Kajiado, and Wajir. These dialogues, conducted by Media Focus on Africa in conjunction with partner organisations and in collaboration with local communities, aimed to address critical issues such as the empowerment of women, environment and climate change, period poverty, women’s leadership, and inclusivity in public policy. They sought to bring both men and women in discussion of these key topics. 

Our partner organisations included Inuka Community Developers Network in Homabay, A Million Hugs in Kisii, The Barrier Breakers in Kericho, Network Empowering Samburu Transformation in Samburu, Stitch In Time My Africa Projects in Embu, A Pack A Month in Kajiado, and Arid Lands Development Focus in Wajir County. Their contribution was paramount to the success of the community dialogues. 

During the community dialogues, participants engaged in thought-provoking discussions that shed light on the challenges faced by women, particularly in relation to period poverty. These dialogues revealed the severity of the situation and the lengths women would go to in order to access menstrual hygiene products, including resorting to sexual acts. In a session in Kisii, Mr. James Matundura, Chairperson of the Gusii Council of Elders, shared his revelation, stating, “In my 70 years of living, I have never sat down in a meeting with men and women to discuss menstruation. As a community, we have always viewed this as a women’s issue. This is progress.” This poignant statement underscores the importance of continuing the discussion on menstrual health at the grassroots level.

The dialogues aimed to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and advocate for affordable menstrual products to ensure every woman’s dignity and well-being. By breaking down barriers related to menstrual health, the dialogues contributed to the empowerment of women, and to promoting gender equity.

James Matundura, Chairperson- Gusii Council of Elders 

In discussion on inclusivity in public policy, there was consensus on the importance of fostering women’s active involvement in governance and local development initiatives, ensuring that their voices are heard in matters of public interest. Through these discussions, it became evident that advocating for inclusivity and gender responsive policies is vital for creating a more equitable society. In order to achieve this, it is essential to have more women in leadership positions. The community dialogues also focused on identifying and addressing the barriers that women face in their pursuit of leadership roles, such as safety concerns, financial limitations, societal norms, and structural obstacles. Despite these challenges, women were encouraged and inspired to run for political and other leadership positions within their communities. A key outcome of a community dialogue in Samburu County was the recognition that “empowering women to actively participate in decision-making isn’t just a matter of equality; it’s an investment in a brighter, more inclusive future for all”.

Samburu County 

Empowering women was the central focus of the community dialogues. Understanding the challenges faced by women was identified as a crucial step towards empowerment. Throughout the dialogues, participants engaged in discussions about these challenges, some of which included limited access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities. Additionally, participants recognized the impact of community and societal structures in perpetuating these limitations. The inclusion of both men and women in these dialogues created a platform for collective action and allowed for the exploration of strategies to address these issues effectively, leading to a more positive and equitable society.

The community dialogues also facilitated discussions on environmental issues, with a particular focus on climate change. Participants explored ways in which women can contribute to creating greener and more sustainable communities. Various perspectives were shared regarding the necessary changes that could be implemented within their respective communities. Additionally, there was a strong emphasis on empowering women through capacity building initiatives, enabling them to take on leadership roles and have a greater influence in shaping policies and decisions related to climate change. A notable example can be seen in Embu County, where participants at the Climate Change Dialogue unanimously agreed that by reducing harmful activities and empowering women to lead and advocate for environmentally sustainable practices, they could effectively mitigate the impacts of climate change.


Embu County- Climate Change Dialogue

The series of community dialogues held across various counties in Kenya successfully fostered open conversations on women’s empowerment, leadership, and their contributions to society. By bringing together both men and women, these dialogues provided a platform to collectively address crucial issues such as climate change, economic empowerment, period poverty, and inclusivity in public policy. The outcomes of these dialogues include increased awareness, improved understanding, and a commitment towards creating a more equitable and inclusive society. It is through continued dialogue and collaborative efforts that sustainable change can be achieved. 


“We will get there one step at a time…”

-Angel Mbuthia

Ms President 2022

Unleashing the Power of Women in Kenyan Politics: Filamu za Akina Dada Uongizini


In a society where women’s voices are often marginalised in political decision-making, Filamu za Akina Dada Uongizini (Filamu Dada) emerges as a groundbreaking initiative aimed at increasing the participation of women in political leadership in Kenya. This short documentary film project, a part of the TV Series Ms President, showcases the stories of seven remarkable Kenyan female leaders, while also empowering female filmmakers in the country. With its powerful narratives and captivating visuals, Filamu Dada is set to inspire change and encourage a more inclusive political landscape in Kenya. 

Filamu Dada brings to the forefront the accomplishments and challenges faced by women leaders in Kenya. Through the lens of seven competitively selected teams of female filmmakers, the project delves into the lives of these extraordinary women who have shattered glass ceilings and made their mark in politics. From Members of Parliament to Governors and Woman Representatives, each film offers a unique perspective on the journey of a female leader.

The Filmmaker Teams:

Each team was assigned to follow and document the journey of a specific Kenyan female leader.

  1. DONYA: Voice of The People – Donya Dorice Aburi (MP): Kisii

Filmmakers: Irene Mukonyoro & Debra Ngeru

  1. Cheptikonyool – Cynthia Muge Rotich (MP): Nandi

Filmmakers: Miriam Koske & Cherotich Kibet

  1. GENOWA – Gladys Wanga (Governor): Homabay

Filmmakers: Sandra Ruong’o & Wendy Kirorei

  1. Etomononi Nagol – Caroline Ncharo – Kajiado (Asst. Chief)

Filmmakers: Cynthia Abdallah & Ivy Kagai/S. Imisa

  1. The Nomads Daughter – Mumina Gollo Bonaya – (Woman Rep): Isiolo

Filmmakers: Gumato Denge & Aisha Hussein

  1. Ma-itu – Sabina Chege (Nominated MP) – Muranga

Filmmakers: Sally Ngoiri & Joan Rispa Kiragu

  1. The Force Within – Cecily Mbarire (Governor): Embu

Filmmakers: Ashley Murugi & Joan Kabugu

Beyond documenting the stories of women leaders, Filamu Dada also aims to enhance the capacity of female filmmakers in the country. Led by Docubox-EADFF, the project provides a comprehensive story and production workshop, ensuring that the filmmakers are equipped with the necessary skills to bring these powerful narratives to life. The mentorship and training provided by experienced professionals like Zippy Kimundu, Lydia Matata, and Franki Ashiruka foster a supportive environment for growth and development.

At the core of Filamu Dada lies the Female Directors in Film Lab, an initiative initiated and supervised by Dutch filmmaker Fleur van Dissel and Media Focus on Africa. This lab serves as a platform for female filmmakers to collaborate, learn, and exchange ideas. By nurturing their talent and providing them with the necessary resources, the lab aims to create a more inclusive and vibrant film industry in Kenya, where women can thrive and make their voices heard.

Filamu Dada is more than a film project; it is a catalyst for change. By showcasing the experiences of women leaders and empowering female filmmakers, it aims to challenge societal norms and inspire future generations of women to actively participate in political leadership. 

The much-anticipated premiere of Filamu za Akina Dada Uongizini took place on Thursday evening, 5th October 2023, at The National Museum, Louis Leakey Auditorium. This event was a celebration of women’s achievements, resilience, and determination. Attendees had the opportunity to witness the powerful stories portrayed on screen and engage with the women leaders, filmmakers and producers who brought them to life. The chief guest, Embu County Governor, Cecily Mbarire noted, “we need to give our story as women. We have His story, but we need Her story.”

To celebrate the filmmakers and women leaders, the event was graced by dignitaries including the Nairobi County Woman Representative, Hon. Esther Passaris, the CEO of National Land Commision, Ms. Kabale Tache, the Head of Public Service, Hon. Felix Koskei, the Commissioner of KNCHR Hon. Sarah Bonaya. Additionally, the UN Women in Kenya Representative, Anna Mutavati, Janine Cocker representing the High Commission in Kenya, among other dignitaries were present at the premier. Their much appreciated support is paramount in encouraging young women to become involved in leadership and politics.

WE ARE HIRING: Media Consultant


Media Focus on Africa invites applications from eligible media consultants to develop an E-based manual/guide for gender sensitive reporting on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) targeted at women in politics. This is part of the larger Ms President project aimed at increasing the participation and media coverage of female leaders in elective politics in Kenya.

The Organisation

Media Focus on Africa (MFA) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2006. It represents a long-standing and unique International, African and East African knowledge base and expertise of the media industry and the political environment in which it operates.

Since 2006 MFA has in close collaboration with CSO/CBO organizations and the media implemented some ground breaking multi media campaigns on leadership and good governance; free and fair elections and peace building and reconciliation among others.

What is Ms. President?
Ms President is an entertaining, educating, and thought-provoking Reality TV show that seeks to portray to a national audience the capacity and ability of women to lead effectively. The objective of Ms President is to change Kenyans’ perception and attitude towards leadership by women in communities and in the country. Learn more about Season 1 here.

Why is Ms President important?

Kenya’s constitution provides for equality in representation between men and women. However, in political leadership, women are significantly underrepresented. For instance, following the 2022 election, female MPs (82) make up only 23.5% of the National Assembly, 31% of the Senate (21), 14% of the Governors (7) and 8% (115) of elected Members of County Assembly.

SGBV targeting Women in Politics
Kenya’s electoral processes precipitate politically motivated violence. The threat or the use of violence, including sexual violence, intimidates female candidates in political processes and forms a major deterrent to equal participation. Universally, the increase in women’s political representation has been accompanied by a rise in Violence Against Women in Politics (VAWP) . For instance, in 2008, the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence reported 900 cases of sexual violence between 2007 and 2008 . In 2017, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNHRC) recorded 2011 sexual offences cases during the 2017 electoral violence. It further documented that 96.26% of victims of violence were female and 3.74% were male . While the internet and social media are useful tools for campaigning, they have become platforms for misogynistic threats and harassment to deter women from leadership. The viral nature of the distribution afforded by social media aggravates the threat .

Summary of Position
The Media consultant will support Media Focus on Africa to develop an E based manual for gender sensitive reporting on VAWP.

Key Deliverables
E based manual for gender sensitive reporting on VAWP for use by journalists, editors, media practitioners and stakeholders, Women’s Rights Organizations, Human Rights and Gender activists and Civil Society Organizations.

Duration of Consultancy
This will be agreed on with the Consultant once he/she is selected.

Logistical Support
Media Focus on Africa will provide preparatory and logistical assistance to the consultant as and when necessary.

Minimum Qualifications
Minimum of 7 years’ experience of relevant work e.g., developing reporting manuals and/or training for journalists and media practitioners.
Familiarity with contemporary media reporting and consumption trends straddling television, radio, newspaper and social/digital media.
Experience in and deep understanding of gender and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) including VAWP. Professional writing on this is an added advantage.
Minimum of a Master’s Degree in media and journalism studies or any other relevant fields.
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

Application Process
Interested candidates should submit their expression of interest, CV, evidence of previous work, expected compensation and references via email to harrison@mediafocusonafrica.org by close of day on 10th August 2023.

Only short-listed applicants will be contacted.


International Press Freedom Day: Celebrating the Freedom to Inform and Be Informed

Every year on May 3rd, we celebrate International Press Freedom Day, an occasion that highlights the importance of freedom of expression and the role of journalists in promoting democracy, transparency, and accountability. This year’s theme is “Shaping a Future of Rights: Freedom of expression as a driver for all other human rights” emphasizing the fact that freedom of expression enables the enjoyment and the protection of all other human rights.

The theme resonates with Media Focus on Africa’s (MFA) mission to stimulate social change through the media. For over two decades, MFA has been working with journalists, media organizations and civil society groups across East Africa to enhance media professionalism, increase access to information and amplify the voices of marginalized communities through various innovative TV and Radio projects.

MFA recognizes that the media is a critical tool for shaping public opinion, influencing policy decisions, and holding those in power accountable. However, the media’s effectiveness is only possible when journalists can operate freely and without fear of censorship, intimidation and or harassment.

In many parts of Africa, journalists face significant challenges in their work. They are often subjected to physical attacks, legal harassments and financial constraints that limit their ability to investigate, report and disseminate information. This has a chilling effect on freedom of expression and undermines the public’s right to know.

MFA works to support and enable freedom of expression and freedom of the media by providing training and capacity building journalists and convening media stakeholders’ roundtables for conversations and dialogue on the most pressing freedom of expression and freedom of media challenges. Through our programs, we equip journalists with the skills and knowledge they need to produce high-quality and informative content that serves the public interest.

As we celebrate International Press Freedom Day, MFA reiterates its commitment to promoting media freedom, pluralism and professionalism across East Africa. We recognize that freedom of expression is a catalyst for the enjoyment of all other human rights and that journalists and media are an essential cog in safeguarding our freedom of expression. This year’s celebrations comes against the backdrop of fighting in the Sudan and opposition protests in Kenya.

“Access to reliable official information is of critical importance during times of crisis. Trustworthy news and images may help protect civilians and contribute to diffusing tensions. Journalists are often the source of this information, but many times they’re also the target of the parties in a crisis, e.g., the recent attacks on journalists covering the opposition called demonstrations in Nairobi in March. Press freedom and freedom of expression demands that journalists’ safety be guaranteed by state and non-state actors alike at all times and especially during times of crisis such as now” Harrison Manga, country Director at MFA Says.

We call on governments, media stakeholders and civil society organizations to support and protect journalists’ work and promote a free, independent, and vibrant media landscape in Africa. This is the only way to safeguard freedom of expression and catalyze the enjoyment of all human rights by all.

Media Monitoring Report Launch: Advancing Gender Equality in Political News Coverage

Wamunyu, W. & Maleche, H. Gender and Media in Kenya speaks at the launch of the media monitoring event held at Jacaranda Hotel in Westland on April 28 2023.

A recent media monitoring report launched by Wambui Wamunyu reveals a significant gender gap in political news coverage, with women being underrepresented as political news sources, content producers, and analysts. The report highlights the need for more diverse and inclusive media coverage and provides recommendations for achieving gender equality in politics.

The media monitoring report launch event, which took place on April 28, was attended by esteemed guests, including media representatives, politicians, civil society activists, and gender equality advocates. The report, which analyzed media coverage of political news over the past Kenya general elections, revealed that women are vastly underrepresented in political news coverage.

According to the report, about 40% of political news sources were women, and female experts and analysts were also underrepresented. Additionally, the report found that women’s perspectives were often marginalized, with their voices and opinions not given equal weight as those of their male counterparts.

In light of these findings, the report provides recommendations for improving gender equality in political news coverage. The first recommendation is for editorial decision-making to include deliberate efforts to involve both genders as political news sources, content producers, and analysts. This can enhance coverage by recognizing diverse perspectives and spaces.

Another critical recommendation is a review of campaign finance structures and mechanisms to enable equal opportunity for both genders in funding their electoral campaigns. This includes policies related to the financial support political parties provide to candidates and expenditure limits on electoral races.

During the launch event, the speakers emphasized the need for collaboration between media organizations, civil society groups, and political stakeholders to implement these recommendations effectively. Achieving gender equality in political news coverage requires a collective effort from all players involved.

Read the full report below.

General in Elections 2022G1


This year’s International Women’s Day is marked under the theme DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for gender equality. Innovation and technology or digital transformation provides new avenues (leapfrog opportunities) for the economic transformation of women. The internet, mobile phones and digital financial services gives women the possibility to earn additional income, increase their employment opportunities and access knowledge and general information.

However, hurdles to access and affordability, lack of education and skills, technological illiteracy as well as inherent gender biases and negative socio-cultural norms effectively curtail women’s and girls’ ability to benefit from opportunities offered by the digital transformation.

According to a 2018 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report on Bridging the Digital Gender Divide, 327 million fewer women than men have a smartphone and can access the internet. According to the report in Africa, women are 34% less likely than men to own a smartphone. In Kenya, the great majority who have access to the internet do so via their phones. The GSMA Mobile Gender Gap Report for 2019 found that Kenyan women are 23% less likely than men to own a smartphone and 39% less likely than men to access the internet. The biggest hurdle to women’s ownership of smartphones in Kenya is affordability of the handsets. The cheapest smartphone handset in Kenya retails for about 5000KES or 40USD. This is out of reach of many women. Women headed households account for 30% of households living below the monetary poverty line compared to 26 percent of those headed by men according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2018 Economic Survey. The relatively higher incidence of poverty among women compared to men is underpinned by socio-cultural norms governing gender roles, ownership of and control over familial property etc.

Fewer girls than boys are enrolled in Institutions of Higher Learning. Female students made up 40% of all the students enrolled in Universities compared to 60% male students during the 2020/21 academic year according to statistics from statista.com. Further, girl’s enrollment in disciplines relevant to the digital transformation (ICT & STEM subjects) is lower than that of boys. The World Bank estimates that only 30% of ICT graduates in Eastern and Southern Africa are Women. This boils over to the underrepresentation of women in technology design and governance. Negative socio-cultural norms surrounding education of girls versus boys as well as gender roles in society contribute to this situation.

Women on average spend 2.6 more time than men on unpaid care and domestic work according to the OECD 2018 report. This restricts the time they can spend in paid work or to upskill themselves using online tutorial videos and freely available information.

While digital transformation offer “leapfrog” opportunities for the empowerment of women, this will only succeed if the “analogue” work of actions that raise awareness, challenge gender stereotypes and negative socio-cultural norms, attitudes and behaviours and enabling greater female political participation and representation continues full speed. It is the case that for digital transformation to yield for us gender equality, it is imperative that we remain “analogue”

Media Focus on Africa wins two prestigious awards for promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women

Media Focus on Africa (MFA) has made its mark as a leading organization in the promotion of gender equality and empowerment women in Kenya.

On Friday 3rd March 2023, MFA was honored with two prestigious awards at the National Diversity and Inclusion Awards and Recognition (DIAR) Awards ceremony.

The first award was for the overall winner in the category of NGOs promoting gender equity. This award recognizes MFA’s continued commitment to promoting gender equality in Kenya and beyond through the Ms President project. MFA has consistently worked through innovative media programs to raise awareness about gender inequality and challenge the socio-cultural norms that underpin gender inequality. At the same the programs empower women across the country. This award shall spur MFA onto greater efforts and boost the organization’s unwavering dedication to the cause of contributing to the realization of a more equal and just Kenya.

The second award recognized MFA’s Ms President program as the best women empowerment initiative. The Ms President program is a groundbreaking initiative that seeks to show to Kenyans the possibility of female head of state in Kenya. It also aims to empower Kenyan women by giving them the skills and knowledge they need to become effective leaders in policy and decision making spheres of country through the Ms President Academy.

The Ms President program has already made a significant contribution in bridging the gender gap in the political representation and policy/decision making realms in Kenya. 2 Ms President alumni are members of the 13th National Assembly. Another 2 are members of the 3rd County Assemblies. 1 served as a Chief Administrative Secretary in the regime of President Kenyatta while another is a current member of the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee. Ms President equips the women with leadership skills, builds their confidence and is helping to break down socio-cultural barriers thus contributing to the realization of a more inclusive society.

This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in the program.

In accepting the awards, MFA’s Country Director, Harrison Manga, expressed his gratitude to the organizers of the DIAR Awards and all the partners who has supported MFA’s work over the years. He said, “We are honored to receive these awards, which recognize the hard work and dedication of everyone at MFA. We remain committed to the cause of promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women in Kenya and across Africa. We shall continue to dedicate our best efforts, imagination and innovation to this cause until we achieve our goal of a more equal society through the use of media “

Angel Mbuthia is a rising star in the world of politics, leadership and public service.

Not only is she the Ms President season 2 winner, she is a member of the Kenya National Youth Council Advisory Board, and the Chairperson of the COMESA Youth Advisory Panel (COMYAP). She is also the Secretary for Gender and International Relations in the All Africa Students Union, based in Accra, Ghana.

Angel’s journey in the Ms President began with her membership of the Mwamko Mpya Party, where she made a name for herself through eloquent and incisive presentations on behalf Mwamko Party. She connected effortlessly with people from different backgrounds.

Her hard work and dedication led her to winning the second season of Ms President. Ms President aims to bridge the gender gap in political representation and participation as well in public policy and decision making positions.

Throughout the competition, Angel impressed the judges with her quick thinking, charismatic personality, and ability to work under pressure. She also demonstrated a strong commitment to social justice and equality, which resonated with the audience.

In the final round, Angel faced off against five other finalists, delivering a powerful speech on the importance of education and the role of women in politics. She received the majority of the votes from the audience through a voting system, making her the winner.


Angel’s win sends a powerful message to young women everywhere, showing them that they can achieve their dreams and make a positive impact in their communities.

As the winner of Ms President season 2, Angel will be awarded a cash prize of USD 20,000 for her to invest in a community project of her choice. She will get support from Media Focus on Africa and other partners to implement her community project and other programs that align with her vision as Ms President.

Angel’s impressive list of accomplishments and her victory in Ms President are a testament to her great leadership capacity and her commitment to making a positive impact in her community, Kenya and the world. With her passion, dedication and hard work, there is no doubt that Angel Mbuthia will continue to make a difference in the world of politics and leadership. She’s definitely one to watch.

Women’s Participation in Kenyan Politics is moving in the right direction

Since the 2013 elections in particular, Kenya has seen a significant increase in the number of women participating in politics. There has been a continual rise in the number of those running for office and the ones succeeding to hold those leadership positions. Today women make up 23.5% of the National Assembly up from 22% in the last parliament. Increasingly women are making their voices heard and breaking through the traditional barriers that have kept them out of the political arena.

Constitution of Kenya 2010 carries provision for realizing gender parity in political leadership and participation. Famously known as the two-thirds gender rule, the provision requires that no gender exceeds two-thirds in terms of its membership of all elective political positions. As a result, more and more women cognizant of this provision are stepping up to seek elective political positions with every election since 2013.

Another key factor that has contributed to this increase is the rise of women’s political organizations and programs. These organizations and programs have been instrumental in providing support and resources for women who are interested in running for office. Further, they have also been instrumental in raising awareness about the importance of women’s participation in politics.

Ms President has been one of such programs that has been at the forefront to highlight the importance of women participation in leadership and inspiring more ways men and girls to become more politically active. The show has been praised for its ability to spark important conversations about women’s participation in politics in Kenya and for its ability to inspire real-world change. A few of Ms President participants are currently occupying high level political leadership positions at the national level such as in the National Assembly and in the national executive. It’s also been credited with helping to shift societal attitudes towards women in politics in the positive direction, as well as encouraging more women to consider running for political office. Overall, Ms President is an important step in the ongoing effort to increase the representation and participation of women in Kenyan politics.

Despite these gains, there is still a long way to go in terms of achieving true gender parity in Kenyan politics. Women still face significant barriers when it comes to running for office, including a lack of financial resources, discrimination, and a lack of political experience.

However, there are many inspiring examples of women who have overcome these barriers and made a real impact in Kenyan politics. For example, Martha Karua, among the few women who’ve run for president in Kenya. She was a Presidential candidate in 2013 and a Presidential running mate in the 2022 election. Currently, there are seven female governors, and several women hold high government positions, including in the Cabinet as Cabinet Secretaries.

In conclusion, the participation and representation of women in Kenyan politics is an essential step in achieving true democracy and representation. We need to continue to work towards creating an environment where women can participate in politics without facing discrimination and barriers. By doing so, we will create a more inclusive and equitable society for all Kenyans.

Increased women’s Political Representation as the sustainable path to reduced Gender Based Violence?

The world is observing the 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV). It is an annual campaign that kicks off on the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against women (25th November) and runs until the International Human Rights Day (10th December). This year’s theme is “Activism to end violence against women and girls”. GBV remains a significant challenge in Kenya. According to the KDHS 2014 (the most recent data on GBV in Kenya), 45% of women have experienced physical violence since age 15. 39% of ever married women have experienced spousal physical or sexual violence. In 2021 the Government of Kenya committed to ending GBV by 2026 via a raft of measures including full implementation of GBV laws, increasing funding for GBV prevention and response and integrating GBV services into essential minimum package of Universal Health Care by 2022.

While all these measures are necessary, a less explored factor that could sustainably contribute to reduced prevalence of GBV cases is that of female political representation. According to a 2021 paper by the University of Chile, evidence from Brazil shows that electing female mayors decreased cases of violence, particularly domestic violence committed by partners, by 63%. This is backed up by a working paper series of the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB-WP-1379) which also found that the election of a female House Representative in the USA leads to short term decline in prevalence of femicides in her electoral district.

Here is how women’s political representation impacts on the prevalence of GBV

Female political leaders can help change perception of women in general. Female political representation is likely to improve male views on female’s role in society. When a woman becomes a visible political leader, both men and women change their perception about gender equality. Men may become less likely to commit GBV as a result of more positive views about women in society, fostering changes in gender biased social norms. Evidence from India suggests that long-term exposure to women in office improves perception about female leaders and tends to decrease gender biases.

Evidence from the US suggests that after the election of a female representative, women exhibit greater propensity to complain about harassment and discrimination. Women who are aware of having a female local representative in a position of power may feel more empowered and become more likely to both abandon abusive relationships and to come forward when facing GBV. Also, elected female representatives are likely to exert pressure on the authorities handling of GBV e.g., the police by going to the press or by approaching higher level authorities. We’ve seen Kenyan women MPs hold press conferences to demand action against GBV perpetrators and join in marches against GBV e.g. the #MydressMychoice campaign in 2014.

Policy preferences differ between women and men. A female legislator is more likely than a male legislator to propose and pass bills that deter violence against women and have more active roles on such issues. This was seen in Kenya in 2006 when the then nominated MP Njoki Ndungu (currently a Justice of the Supreme Court) backed by other female MPs championed and led the enactment of the Sexual Offences Act.

As the world observes the 16 days of activism against GBV, it is the right time to interrogate the impact of having more women in elective political leadership on the prevalence of GBV. Based on the cited emerging evidence from Brazil and USA, one of the most impactful and sustainable measures to reduce prevalence of GBV could be greater focus and investment in increasing the representation of women in political leadership.

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Media Focus on Africa
Media Focus on Africa4 months ago
On this day, a year ago, we proudly announced Angel Mbuthia as the winner of Ms President. A true embodiment of leadership, grace, and resilience. Her journey continues to inspire us all.

Media Focus on Africa
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Curious to learn about the tangible impact of our #MsPresident program? Dive into the numbers, stories, and lessons learned in our comprehensive new report. Be inspired by the change driven by women leaders!

Media Focus on Africa
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Insights From the Recently Concluded Community Dialogues: Over the past few months, a series of impactful community dialogues took place in various counties across Kenya including, Homabay, Kisii, Kericho, Samburu, Embu, Kajiado, and Wajir. Read on below.



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Media Focus on Africa Uganda4 weeks ago
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