Young Women's Political Participation in Kenya

IDRC's Democratic Governance, Women's Rights and Gender Equality initiative is supporting a body of comparative research on whether and how democratic processes and institutions are responding to women's rights and gender equality. The projects under this initiative will investigate issues surrounding women's participation in political decision-making, the judiciary and the public sector, and explore ways in which state institutions, political parties, civil society and kin-based social organizations can be influenced to advance women's choices and entitlements as citizens, including through increased representation.

Unequal power relations are entrenched in the patriarchal and sexist system of politics in modern-day Kenya. This accounts for the low level of women's participation in politics. These unequal relations are not simply structured around gender. Other factors like class, filial relations and age play a significant role in limiting or enhancing women's political participation. In this project, researchers will endeavor to understand the experience and challenges of young women's political participation in Kenya. They will analyze the historical and current political participation of young women in local and national politics; the strategies women employ in seeking political office; the role of men, civil society organizations and community leadership in advancing young women in politics; and the role of political parties in recognizing, supporting and encouraging young women to participate in politics. They will also look at generational experiences of women's political engagement, drawing lessons from previous elections as well as provisions outlined in the new Kenyan constitution.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

End Date

Friday, March 22, 2013


24 months

IDRC Officer

de Boer, John

Total funding

CA$ 123,400


Kenya, North of Sahara, South of Sahara


Governance and Justice

Project Leader

Regina Mwatha

Project Leader

Grace Mbugua


Women's Empowerment Link

Institution Country


Institution Website