Gender inequalities in Kenya by Colin Creighton; Felicia Arudo Yieke; Egerton University.

By Colin Creighton; Felicia Arudo Yieke; Egerton University. Institute for Women's Studies and Gender Analysis.; University of Hull. Department of Comparative and Applied Social Sciences

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There is a need to address inequalities at every level of education. In universities in Kenya, gender inequalities are experienced in relation to access, the curriculum and staff recruitment, training and promotion. Each of these issues is discussed below. Admission/access to university education Access has been identified by UNESCO and other United Nations agencies as one way of reducing gender inequality in society. Access in education has to do with questions of equality of opportunity in three senses : • • • Equal access for individuals regardless of social circumstances Equal chances to take part or share in the system Equal educational results: equal gains The increased demand for higher education in Kenya has made it difficult for all students who qualify for university education to be admitted and this has led to variations in the minimum entry grade from year to year.

Moreover, inadequate funding to pay for tuition fees and subsistence has meant that women devise survival tactics which may not be acceptable to society. Some students have turned to prostitution, or to relationships with men who are working, to meet their day-to-day needs. These relationships make them vulnerable to HIV/AIDS infections. Society is quick to condemn their behaviour without understanding the root cause of their problems. All these features indicate that universities do not have a conducive atmosphere for women students.

The figures in Table 1 indicate that private universities take quite a substantial proportion of female students. This could be explained by the facts that the programmes are mainly arts based, and that the private universities include flexible courses and provide a conducive learning environment. The issue of the number of women who access university education has far reaching implications when it comes to acquiring positions of leadership at policy making level. Since fewer women are available for upward mobility, they tend to be poorly represented in the senior academic and management positions in universities.

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