An Exploratory study of the empowerment of Kenyan women and family life
Tiren, Evelyn Chemutai
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Since 1975, when the United Nations declared the Women's Decade, numerous women empowerment initiatives have been implemented in developing countries to enhance the status of women. This has resulted in the improved socio-economic status of women the world over. Many governments' experience has shown that integrating women in the development process greatly contributed towards the economic progress of nations. However, the advancement of women has been coupled with concurrent shifts in the role of women in families. Women have gradually abandoned their traditional nurturing, caregiving and home making roles thus negatively affecting family life. This research dissertation focuses on understanding the evolution of women empowerment in Kenya, the driving factors of enlisting women's families in the empowerment process and the potential women's advancement programs have on the growth of Kenya's economy especially in relation to the country's development blueprint, Kenya Vision 2030. This research is qualitative in nature and the unit of analysis is a single case study. The single case was used as a research design and the organization chosen for this study was Kianda Foundation, a not for profit organization whose core business is to empower women. The study revealed that there had been significant progress with regards to women empowerment in Kenya despite challenges such as traditional cultural constraints and discriminatory civil laws that were in place. Moreover, enlisting families in the empowerment process of women was depicted as a critical success factor for the success of women's advancement. The study also examined the implications of Kenya's Vision 2030 on women's empowerment and the effect of the latter on Kenya's economy. The implications and limitations of the study are also stated. Besides drawing out the milestones of women empowerment in Kenya, this research calls for support from different development agencies to involve families in the empowerment process of women. It also argues for the development of a model that singles out best practices in the design and implementation of women empowerment programs in order to attain higher success rates.