How Women are being Represented in the Six National Parliaments of East Africa

There are as many women in East African Countries as their male counterparts, but how many ladies have managed to get into parliaments?

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Women constitute more than 50 percent of the population in the East African Community.

Made up of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and South-Sudan, the East African Community has a combined population of 184 million residents, on average, according to the recent estimates.

That means there should be 92 million women spread across the six countries in equal ratio with their male counterparts.

But while the population in the region is gender balanced, does political and leadership participation is equally as balanced?

Though when it comes to regional politics there have been a considerable increased in female representation in National Parliaments, the figures are still lacking with the exception of Rwanda.

Kigali surpasses the other five member states of the East African Community in boasting the highest percent of women participation in the country’s National Assemblies.

East Africa and the women in the region

That is according to data-based statement from the EAC Secretary General, Dr Peter Mathuki.

Rwanda is leading at 63.8 percent in the Lower House and 38.5 percent in the Senate or Upper House. When combined the figures averages at 51.2 percent overall female representation. Rwanda is also number one worldwide.

Burundi, on the other hand, has 36.4 percent women representation in the Lower House and 41.9 percent in the Senate; both averaging at 39.2 percent.

Tanzania follows at number three with an overall 36 percent; despite being the largest geographically, but for many years, the country has been offering privileged special seats to women at its Dodoma House.

Bunge: The House in Dodoma

At the moment Tanzania has a female speaker at the National Assembly, Tulia Ackson and previously had another, Anna Makinda.

Uganda ranks fourth with 35 Percent female representation in the country’s legislation halls.

South-Sudan with 28.5 percent female representation in the Juba’s National Assembly comes fifth in the region.

Kenya may top the economy of East Africa but the country is tagging last at 27.8 percent, as far as the number of women holding seats in the Parliament is concerned.

“We need to include women as active participants in decision-making at both the national and regional levels. The purpose of this is to ensure that decisions are inclusive and reflect the desires of the entire population. At the national level, the Constitutions of the respective Partner States guarantee one-third majority for women in elective positions and this has considerably increased the number of women legislators in elective positions across the region.”

Dr Peter Mathuki – The EAC Secretary General.
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