Women in the military in Africa: Kenya case study


Kenya is a key actor in East African security, playing a major role in multinational peacekeeping forces. The Kenya Defence Forces are active in regions where gender-based violence is pervasive, both during and after conflict, yet the access of women in the Kenyan military to meaningful assignments is influenced by traditional attitudes regarding women’s work, and the deployment of women to conflict situations is rare. Research on policy frameworks guiding gender mainstreaming in the Kenyan security sector – and the extent to which policy is carried out – has identified the space women occupy in the KDF and the challenges they face when opting for a career in the military.

About the authors

Yolande Bouka is a research associate for the ISS Peace and Security Research Programme, specialising in the Great Lakes Region. She is a scholar in comparative politics and brings expertise on comparative foreign policy and regional dimensions of conflicts. She completed her PhD at the School of International Service at the American University in Washington, DC, specialising in comparative and regional studies, and international peace and conflict resolution.

Romi Sigsworth is currently a consultant for the ISS and editor of the African Security Review. She was the former ISS gender specialist in the executive director’s office in Pretoria. Romi has a master’s degree in women’s studies from Oxford University.

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