Prof. Jacqueline Oduol is a well-known Kenyan gender expert. She is also specialized in child protection and children’s rights, leadership, peace building and conflict resolution. She has played key roles in developing gender policies to increase women’s participation in development activities in Kenya, and was among the first members of the National Gender and Equality Commission when it was set up in 2003.
Prof Oduol holds a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics, English and Literature (1979) and a Master of Arts in Linguistics and African Languages of Education (1981), both from the University of Nairobi. Her PhD in Linguistics (1990) was researched at both the University of Nairobi and Bayreuth University in Germany.
She taught at the Department of Linguistics and African Studies at the University of Nairobi and rose through the ranks to the position of senior lecturer. In 1994, she joined the United States International University (USIU) as a lecturer in comparative linguistics, critical thinking, intercultural communications and gender studies. It was at USIU where she was appointed a professor.
Prof. Oduol has undertaken several consultancies on gender for a number of reputable international agencies such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (UN-DAW).
She has also prepared policy papers for the UN gender agency, UNIFEM, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD).
In 2007, Prof Oduol quit her teaching post to vie for a parliamentary seat in Alego-Usonga constituency but her bid was unsuccessful. However, in April 2008, she was appointed the Secretary for Children Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Development, a position she held until May 2013. She also received a Head of State Commendation, the award of Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (EBS), in recognition of her work on gender mainstreaming.