One of the most celebrated aspects of the 2010 Constitution is the expanded Bill of Rights which includes extensive provisions on economic, social and cultural rights and envisages enhanced institutional systems for the respect, protection and promotion of human rights, including the right to gender equality and freedom from gender-based discrimination.
The Constitution further harnesses gender equality and the empowerment of women by entrenching the principle that no more than two thirds of the members of an elective or appointive body shall be of the same gender. Furthermore, Kenya’s Vision 2030 envisions gender mainstreaming in all government policies, plans and programs and by decision-making bodies to ensure that the needs and interests of women and girls are addressed.
Since 2013, IDLO has worked to enhance the capacity of the government to mainstream gender at both the national and county levels through technical assistance to the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs (via the State Department of Gender Affairs), the National Gender and Equality Commission, the Judiciary and the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice.
IDLO’s activities have included:
- Together with the State Department of Gender, finalizing the Status of Women Report towards ensuring gender mainstreaming and improved availability of gender aggregated data, which was launched by Hon. First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and Hon. Cabinet Secretary Sicily K. Kariuki in March 2017.
- Providing support to the State Department of Gender in the development of the draft National Equality Policy 2017, and accompanying Ministerial Implementation Matrix which is presently before Cabinet for consideration, following approval by the Office of the Attorney General.
- Providing a Legal and Policy Gender Advisor to the State Department of Gender Affairs, who has provided input to: the draft periodic report on the Maputo Protocol outlining measures Kenya has taken to ensure its implementation of the Protocol; the Anti-Female Genital Mutilation Policy; child marriage initiatives; Kenya’s Technical Committee on the implementation of the UN Security Council Recommendation on women and peace and security; Kenya’s National Gender Equality Policy; and towards the implementation of the Government of Kenya’s comprehensive framework to address sexual and gender-based violence.
- Supporting the National Gender and Equality Commission in the development of a Handbook for Legislators at the National Assembly, Senate and County Assembly levels on Principles of Equality and Non-Discrimination, as well as support towards the review and revision of the County Government Leadership Guide on Integration of Gender Equality and Inclusion in County Development for newly elected county governments.
- Supporting the National Gender and Equality Commission in the development and finalization of a model policy and legal framework to address sexual and gender based violence for county governments.
- Providing support towards strengthening institutional capacity of the National Gender and Equality Commission to address gender equality and inclusion for the 2017 general elections through development and finalization of elections monitoring tools, trainings of cultural and traditional structures in Marsabit and Murang’a to advance gender equality, non-discrimination and promote prevention of gender-based violence, and through a rapid assessment of select political parties’ constitutions, coalition agreements, nomination rules and regulations on gender equality and inclusion.
- Supporting the State Department of Gender, formerly the Directorate of Gender under the Ministry of Devolution and Planning under former Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru, to enhance institutional capacity to promote gender mainstreaming through development of the Government of Kenya's Gender Management System Manual and Guide and subsequent training of all County Gender and Youth Officers.
- Providing support to the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice, which has included the development of the rules to accompany the Marriage Act pertaining to Islamic marriages and the Divorce Proceeding Rules, and the review of the Public Trustees Act.