Judiciary and Gender parity: NGEC raises red flag

Written By: Hunja Macharia

Dr. Joyce M. Mutinda-Chairperson NGEC

The Judiciary lacks a formal plan or a framework for achieving gender parity within specific time frames in its senior leadership positions.

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An audit by the National Gender and Equality Commission also revealed that cases of bullying and sexual harassment reported by Judiciary employees were rarely filed or successfully addressed.

The audit however revealed that the Judiciary is gradually and progressively becoming receptive to the principles of gender equality and non-discrimination.

The Commission observed that a body of constitutional jurisprudence on gender equality has started to develop, which recognizes the historical gender discrimination that has disadvantaged women in Kenya.

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Other concerns identified during the audit include lack of a policy addressing the use of affirmative action so that it could be applied consistently when warranted as well as failure by women to participate more as litigants in the formal justice sector.

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In a statement, Commission Chairperson Dr Joyce Mutinda said the audit sort to analyze the gender sensitivity and responsiveness of the Judiciary in its internal operations and delivery on its external mandate

The audit also revealed that the Judiciary did not collate, analyze and prepare reports with gender-disaggregated data on who was using the courts and the type of services they were using.

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“Court processes and case management, including Court Annexed Mediation programs, were often not viewed from a gender perspective. Even in court decisions discussing constitutional principles, the language sometimes lacked gender sensitivity,” She said.

The Commission has therefore made several recommendations to help the Judiciary fulfill its constitutional obligations, to uphold and promote gender equality, equity and inclusion. They include:

  1. Adopts a comprehensive gender policy;
  2. Takes measures to increase the number of women in senior leadership roles;
  3. Collects and analyses gender-disaggregated data across all fields beyond the total workforce;
  1. Develops and delivers a gender-sensitive and inclusive training curriculum for all employees;
  2. Puts safeguards in place to ensure fairness in court-annexed mediation;
  3. Uses simple education materials on equality and non-discrimination to educate the public; and
  1. Develops the Judiciary’s quality legal research ability.
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The Commission has in the meantime reiterated its commitment to continue monitoring the implementation of gender mainstreaming in the Judiciary and provide the leadership of the Judiciary with progress reports from time to time for their consideration.




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