Prischilla Mema Mumba from Kenya pursues political issues that are important to women, such as the right to own land and water supply. “I told people that they should vote for me because I know their problems and I want to solve them. I know that my election as a County Assembly Member also motivates the poorest women in the country,” says Mumba. She was elected to the Mombasa County Assembly in the general election held in autumn 2017.
Mumba and other female candidates decided to stand as candidates even though it meant risking their lives. Male candidates try to get rid of their competitors by using dirty and violent tactics, and women lack the resources and knowhow necessary to run an election campaign. The country elected three female governors and senators for the first time in the general election held in autumn 2017. A total of 23 women were elected to Parliament, whereas in the 2013 election the number was 16. The number of women is still very small compared to that of men.
Finland has supported women’s participation in decision-making in Kenya and Tanzania together with the UN Women, the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and with local non-governmental organisations. The UN Women and its partners have trained female candidates, advised them how to devise a campaign strategy and improved security arrangements. Efforts have also been made to improve the political parties’ and different electoral actors’ skills in gender equality.
Photo: Juho Paavola, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta