Chapter 9: Institutional Deterrents to the Empowerment of Women: Kenya’s Experience
Tabitha W. Kiriti, Clem Tisdell and Kartik C. Roy INTRODUCTION Male domination, perceived as embedded in cultural norms and institutions, characterises intra-household power relations and resource allocation patterns. Institutional mechanisms and sets of beliefs play crucial roles in keeping ‘undesirable’ changes invisible, thus maintaining the sex stratiﬁcation system intact. Gender empowerment has been recognised as a key improvement in the empowerment of women in developing countries. Developing the ability to organise and inﬂuence the direction of social change, to create a more just social and economic order nationally and internationally, can enhance women’s empowerment. However, institutional factors act as deterrents to women’s empowerment not only in Kenya but also in many developing countries. Women tend to suﬀer from these institutional impediments more than men, and among women, rural women suﬀer more than urban women. In this chapter we show that both domestic institutions and society act as deterrents to the empowerment of women. Although structural adjustment, globalisation, agricultural and product pricing reforms and other reforms have opened opportunities for the educated and professional women, they have intensiﬁed the existing inequalities and insecurities to which poor women are subject. These reforms have been implemented without corresponding reforms in institutions, thus enhancing the marginalisation of women and their lack of empowerment. INSTITUTIONS The term institution is a set of humanly devised behavioural rules that govern and shape the interactions of human beings, in part by helping them 199 200 Empirical evidence to form expectations of what other...
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