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Gender Parity Test Failure Exposes Gaps in Judiciary's Efforts Towards Female Empowerment in Kenya

Audit reveals glaring inequality at corridors of justice with only four out of 11 members at the JSC being women, none in Kadhi's Court.

The latest gender audit in the Judiciary has brought the institution into sharp focus over gender equality.

The audit brings to the fore the irony of an institution the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) is banking on to achieve the two-thirds gender rule that itself does not conform to gender equality requirements.

LSK recently kicked-off a fresh process that seeks to compel President Uhuru Kenyatta to dissolve Parliament for failing to initiate implementation of constitutional provisions that would ensure gender balance in both levels of government.

The LSK in a petition asked Chief Justice David Maraga to write to President Kenyatta to advise him on dissolving Parliament, on grounds that no laws have been crafted to enable implementation of Section 27 of the Constitution.

Section 27 of the Constitution requires both levels of government to ensure that neither gender has more than two-thirds of public officers, whether elected or appointed.

The gender audit at the Judiciary released early last week reveals the glaring gender inequality at the corridors of justice.

The audit, which was undertaken by the National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) in collaboration with the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ)-Kenya Chapter with support from the International Development Law Organisation indicates the Judiciary is yet to achieve gender parity.

The disparity is wider at the leadership level but narrows at the lower cadre positions, the report reveals.

In the Court of Appeal, female judges are half less than the male counterparts. There are 14 males against seven female.

Out of the 126 judges serving in the High Courts, 53 are women, further, only 19 out of the 46 chief magistrates, are women.

There is, however, a lower gender disparity in other jurisdictions such as registrars (three male, four female); directors (eight male, three female) and principal judges (three male, two women).

The Supreme Court has five male judges and two female, while at the Judicial Service Commission, four of the 11 members are women.

At the magistracy level, women are seemingly more. The number of female resident magistrates is double the number of male colleagues.

The report shows that there are 97 female resident magistrates against 47 men. For senior resident magistrates, the ratio of female to male is equal at 76.

At the principal magistrate category, women are 21 and men, 42. At the senior principal magistrate level, women are 21 while men are 33.

Kadhis courts have zero female judges or magistrates.

Source: Nation

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