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Kenyan first? Judiciary about to achieve elusive gender parity

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The Judiciary could be among the top government institutions about to achieve gender parity in employment at all levels.

In a new report by Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amadi, the number of women and men from the Supreme Court to the magistrate courts, across all categories of employment, is almost equal.

The details emerged just a month after Martha Koome was sworn in as the first Kenyan female Chief Justice. Koome is deputised at the Supreme Court by Philomena Mwilu. 

The principal judge of the High Court and of the Employment and Labour Relations Court are Justice Lydia Achode and Maureen Onyango respectively

In the new report to the Senate Standing Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity, Amadi said the Judiciary has a total of 175 judges.

Out of these, 95 (54 per cent) are male, while 80 (46 per cent) are female.

Out of the total 538 judicial officers, 279 (52 per cent) are men and 259 (48 per cent) are women. 

For the other  staff, the Judiciary has a total of 4,520 staffers.

Here, women are the majority at 2,333 (52 per cent), while men are 2187 (48 per cent) .

The total number of employees at the Judiciary stood at 5,233 as July 1, 2021.

This, the report indicated, has been enabled by a policy that guides it during hiring.

“The policy affirms that the Judiciary is an equal opportunity employer and shall not in its recruitment and selection process, discriminate [against] on the basis of gender, race, religion, ethnicity or any other form of discrimination,” it said.

As it stands, the Judiciary’s top leadership comprises of the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice, Supreme Court judges, Court of Appeal judges, Chief Registrar, Deputy Chief Registrar, registrars, directors and deputy directors.

There are a total of 29 Supreme and Court of Appeal judges, 15 men and 14 women.

There are six registrars, three men and three women, and 15 directors (nine male and six female).

The report said the Judicial Service Commission has put in place measures to promote equal opportunity and inclusivity as well as enhance access to justice for persons living with disability.

The report said the “International Association of Women Judges -Kenya Chapter (IAWJ-KC) has also been instrumental in pursuing gender equality measures through sensitisation and production of gender sensitisation knowledge products that can be weaved within the routine judicial work.”

“The Judiciary Gender Mainstreaming Policy seeks to promote gender awareness and sensitivity, as well as equal opportunities in recruitment, promotion, training and career advancement within the Judiciary,” it added.

The report added that the Judiciary has undertaken several steps to confront the barriers to access to justice for persons living with disability.

It noted that the Judiciary Disability Mainstreaming Policy seeks to ensure persons with disabilities have equal opportunities in the workplace.

The policy also seeks to improve employment prospects for persons with disabilities by facilitating recruitment, job retention and opportunities for advancement.

The Judiciary also has an assistive allowance to eligible persons (employees on wheel chair or blind), provision of assistive devices, effecting tax (Pay as You Earn) exemptions, extension of retirement age to 65 years once relevant documents are submitted.

Ramps have also been installed in all newly constructed courts across the country.

“By putting in place policies, systems and structures that enhance diversity and inclusivity, equality, equity and affirmative action, the Judiciary is committed to uphold the Constitution of Kenya 2010 not only through judicial roles but also through all aspects of its administrative and judicial operations,” the report added.



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