Miriam Jerotich Kilimo

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Emory U.

Grant number

Gr. 9861

Approve Date

May 1, 2019

Project Title

Kilimo, Miriam (Emory U.) "Gender Quotas, Law, and Nationhood in Kenya"

MIRIAM KILIMO, then a graduate student at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, received a grant in April 2019 to aid research on ‘Gender Quotas, Law, and Nationhood in Kenya,’ supervised by Dr. Peter D. Little. This project examined the impact of gender quotas in political representation in Kenya, a country that introduced the legislation in 2010. When few women won seats by election, political parties fulfilled the gender quota by nominating hundreds of women as members of county assemblies (MCAs). Although much research has been conducted to investigate which gender quotas work best to increase the number of women in political office, little scholarship has considered how these women experience the political system. Using participant observation, interviews, and document and media analyses, this study examined the participation of female MCAs in the county assembly and in the community, their relationship with male MCAs, and the ideas about them that are circulated in public. The findings of this research show that female MCAs are active participants in the political system. They balance their legislative work with community expectations, such as acting as financial patrons. They expand their political networks by collaborating with male MCAs. They urge nongovernmental organizations to not just train them on leadership, but to also support them financially. Ultimately, the study shows how female MCAs actively create their political futures, challenging assumptions that paint them as pawns of male politicians and political parties.