Women who contested various elective positions in the 2022 general election received less media coverage than their male counterparts, a report says.
The report titled A Gender Audit and Analysis of Kenya’s 2022 General Election, a publication of Echo Network Africa (ENA) 2023, indicated that lack of resources prevented women from breaking through the mainstream media.
“Women candidates have reported that prior to the 2022 general elections, they received less media coverage than their male counterparts, and a lack of resources prevents women from breaking through into the mainstream media,” ENA 2023 report reads.
The report further showed that women were generally tagged with negative news when they attracted the media’s attention compared to males.
Stigma and gender stereotypes also dominated the election period.
“Gender stereotypes and stigma were also prevalent in the coverage of the female political leaders before, during and after the general elections.”
It is revealed that the double standards for men and women resulted in tremendous caution among many female candidates when they were allowed to participate on radio or television. As a result, most women avoided the media-based public discourse and ultimately lost visibility.
However, the report noted that there had been significant improvement since 2017 in the overall quality coverage of female politicians.
This is attributed to most journalists being trained on gender-sensitive reporting by ENA-DTF and other Civil Society Organizations.
However, women effectively capitalized on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, SMS, and WhatsApp, according to ENA 2023 report to reach their supporters.
“Posting of women campaign events and photos of their development work helped to communicate their message and improve visibility among the electorates.”
The 2022 general election saw a modest increase in the number of women elected, although it remains way below the Constitutional threshold of “not more than two-thirds of their gender.”
A total of 16,100 candidates ran for the various seats, with women candidates constituting 1,962 (12 percent).
Out of 1,962, only 206 were elected.