In the last ten parliaments, Kenya has had a total of seventy-five women, fifty of them elected while the other 25 were nominated. With an increase from 9.8% to 19% representation, Kenya is now ranked 76th of the top 100 countries in the World Classification of Women in National Parliaments.
Hilda Lukulu Sianga a 45-yearold influential woman is one of the women who believe woman can be good leaders and are very able to break the glass ceiling in matters leadership if they stay united.
Being among the participants in the civic education sensitization training held by State Department of Gender supported by UN Women in Bungoma County, Hilda has been very vocal not hesitating to share her side of the story with the women in the room. ‘’I have been in politics since 2007 with my mentors being Nancy Abisai and Catherine Muna and my journey since then has been very adventurous with achievements and challenges, ‘’ Hilda begins.
Being a natural leader with leadership history heading as far as primary school and high school where she was a head girl and a student’s leader in college, Hilda was chosen as the county chairlady in 2011. In this position, she trained women on leadership and gained enough support and publicity to vie for Women Rep seat in 2012.
Being a luhya from Kakamega but married in Bungoma she was viewed as a foreigner in Bungoma County. This costed her the seat at the nomination stage as the public went for a woman who had been born and raised in the county. Her die hard spirit pushed her to vie again for an MCA seat in Bungoma County but the same reason saw her downfall.
Currently she is the National Deputy Treasurer in Orange Democratic Party and aims to be among the presidential campaigners. She believes she can be nominated into parliament by the party after being a strong campaigner. She has offered support to women running for various seats in the county and she believes they have a high likelihood of making it since they are ‘’daughters’’ of the county.
Hilda believes, the political party a woman chooses is very important since it determines whether you get the seat or not. Hilda’s analysis of why women do not support fellow women for leadership is due to cultural hindrances, fear of competition among themselves, negative attitude towards other women and general lack of economic empowerment.
She highlighted devolution as one of the challenges where the residents of Bungoma county for example feel that the resources in the county are for members of the county and hence they cannot support women raised in other counties e.g. Kakamega who are running for a seat in Bungoma County.
‘’I have taken a back from running for political seats and decided to rally behind women who come from Bungoma County to make sure they make it into parliament and even have a woman senator from this county.’’ Hilda concluded.
As she walks away, very many women ask to have a minute with her to get some advice on how they can make it into leadership. This simply proves she is a woman they reckon with and it also portrays the die-hard spirit in her.
The State Department of Gender supported by UN Women is running a series of capacity building trainings on Civic Education. This is in support of women participation in electoral processes ahead of the August 8 general elections. The trainings target women aspirants from several counties including Bungoma, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kwale, Kakamega, Nyeri, Eldoret, Kiambu, Kitui, Machakos, Turkana and Taveta.
UN Women is funded by: Government of Finland, Government of Sweden, Government of Japan