Enhancing Access to Information in the Gender Discourse: A Case of University of Nairobi Library
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Gender concerns in the African setting can be traced to the pre-colonial period, gaining momentum with the advent of colonization of the continent and further accelerating after attainment of independence. During the pre-colonial and colonial eras, studies were undertaken by scholars, largely motivated, by the then colonial administration desire to understand the colonized mentality as well as their cultural beliefs and practices and as a tool for effective control. A vast majority of these scholars were Anthropologists, who used biology as a point of reference for their works, with women’s role being largely seen as that of child bearer. These studies therefore, failed to add reasonable value to advance the gender debate. However, over the years there has been tremendous improvement on works addressing gender concerns with the evolution of the discipline and it attaining a multi-disciplinary dimension through linkages with other subject areas. Currently gender considerations are acknowledged as an important element of advancement in social studies. Most up to date, reliable and timely information, in the format required by scholars on various topics on gender issues is still a challenge and are certainly found only in academic and a few specialized libraries. Even then, they are not easily visible as materials on marginalized communities and those on women who fall into this grouping have never been organized with any special concern. This paper addresses the role of information as a critical input in the research Endeavour of scholars in the gender discourse with particular reference to the theme of the conference. It examines the vast and unexplored potential that exist for the University of Nairobi library as custodians of information and the information professionals working in the library and information sector in taking up the challenge to provide quality information that can inform and be a game changer in this discipline.
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