Political Violence, Slums and Gendering the 2007 Post-Election Violence in Kenya

Frenchik, Lisa, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Echeverri-Gent, John, Department of Politics, University of Virginia
Walsh, Denise, Department of Politics, University of Virginia

This paper analyzes women's experience during the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya. While current analysis looks at the absence of ethnic identity salience in voter choice, looking at women and the prevalence of gender-based violence that occurred throughout Kenyan's slums, this paper finds that women experienced a higher proportion of politically and ethnically motivated violence. I employ round four of the Afrobarometer, which was conducted shortly after the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya. The results show that individuals working and living in the urban informal slums experience more political violence. However, while police reports and hospital records show a significant increase in violence towards women between December 2007 and February 2008, due to limitations with the Afrobarometer survey mechanism in that the survey only accounts for physical harm and not gender-based violence, the results show only a limited impact on women compared to men. The survey's questions fail to account for the political and strategic way within which gender-based violence was utilized during the post-election violence. Considering current trends in how governments, development agencies and NGOs view women as a source for further democratic and economic development, addressing the barriers to participation in the economy and politics that women experience has significant policy implications for nations, civil society, and women alike.

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MA (Master of Arts)
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