In Summary

  • The proportion of women MPs will inch up towards the constitutional two-thirds threshold, and after several electoral cycles the discussion about gender balance in parliament will become stale.
  • The next parliament will have the first elected female member from the former North-Eastern Province
  • Countries that have carried out these interventions are reaping the fruits of peace and social development.

The just-concluded elections threw up many surprises, some of which will continue to be debated for years to come.

A major outcome that was not anticipated in many quarters is the relatively large number of women elected to the various positions across the country.

For instance, the next parliament will have the first elected female member from the former North-Eastern Province and, for the first time, we are going to have several female governors across the country.

The proportion of women MPs will inch up towards the constitutional two-thirds threshold, and after several electoral cycles the discussion about gender balance in parliament will become stale.

At least this is my fervent hope.

Many have questioned the rationale of including more women in positions of leadership, and a number of explanations have been given for this.

CONTENTIOUS ELECTION

In our context, the most persuasive argument is that after our contentious election 10 years ago that took us to the brink of a meltdown, one of the measures recommended to keep the political class focused on the future was the inclusion of more women in positions of responsibility.

This recommendation is not based on the stereotypical musings of a male chauvinist who thinks that replacing men with the so-called “weaker sex” would solve all our violence problems, but on centuries of empirical research.

Firstly, it is important to look at the epidemiology of violence and conflict from a public health perspective.

Violent conflict is common in societies that meet certain characteristics – poverty, poor social support, youth and male gender.

Let’s review each in its turn. Poverty (and inequality) is a potent driver of violence both among individuals and in societies.

POVERTY

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