This paper examines how women influenced constitutional reform and land reform processes in Kenya; how they were supported in this by international actors; and the extent to which these reforms resulted in stronger gender equality frameworks and outcomes. The paper finds that Kenyan women’s long history of mobilisation resulted in strong women’s movements with significant capacity and a clear agenda, which were well placed to take advantage of openings that emerged following political violence and advance gender equality goals within reform processes. While international support for women’s mobilisation played an important role in enabling women to influence these reform processes, particularly in the case of constitutional reform, this support could have been more politically aware and strategic.
The paper finds that formal rights established by constitutional reform and land reform have had limited impact on outcomes for women and that long-term international support is required for women’s continued action to demand and monitor implementation of these new frameworks. It concludes that the WPS agenda has potential to provide a framework for ongoing strategic and interconnected support by international actors to strengthen Kenyan women’s rights across political and economic arenas, including through implementation of the new constitution and land laws. mobilised extensively during peace negotiations to ensure that the agreement included gender language and addressed women’s concern.
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