By Rachel Corrigan, Berkeley Law Exchange Student
I spent this January Term in Nairobi, Kenya, working for the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC). The KLRC is a statutory commission that was established in 1982 through the enactment of the Law Reform Commission Act. The mandate of the Commission is to “keep under review all the law of Kenya to ensure its systematic development and reform.” Among other things, the KLRC drafts legislation, reviews existing laws, holds stakeholder consultations, and provides recommendations for the alignment of statutes with the 2010 Kenyan Constitution.
During this January Term, I undertook a project researching and analyzing practical barriers to implementation of Article 27(8) of the 2010 Constitution, which articulates the “two-thirds gender rule.” Article 27(8) requires that “the State shall take legislative and other measures to implement the principle that not more than two-thirds of the members of elective or appointive bodies shall be of the same gender.” However, as I discovered throughout my research, the Kenyan Parliament has not succeeded in passing legislation enacting the two-thirds gender rule. Despite multiple bills focused on redesigning the composition of legislative bodies and electoral processes, Kenya has still not implemented the two-thirds gender rule, and most governing bodies are still over two-thirds male.
My project was to find out why this was, and provide recommendations for effectively implementing the two-thirds gender principle. In my research, I learned a great deal about Kenyan electoral processes, constitutional provisions, and comparative law. I also had the opportunity to attend meetings with a former MP and Cabinet Secretary, and with a member of the National Gender and Equality Commission to ask questions about the development of Article 27(8) and remaining barriers to implementation. Eventually, I was able to produce a comprehensive memo analyzing the issues facing implementation of gender quotas and provide recommendations for Kenya.
My experience at the KLRC was one of the best experiences I have had in law school. I was surprised by how much responsibility and freedom I was given to conduct research and develop concrete recommendations. I also learned a great deal about international and comparative law. I hope other students are able to have as wonderful a clinic placement as I had!