Gender mainstreaming in upgrading of Karatina market, Nyeri County, Kenya
Gender mainstreaming is a concept that addresses the well being of women and men. It is a strategy that is central to the interests of the whole community. Equality between women and men is seen both as a human rights issue and as a precondition for, and indicator of, sustainable people-centred development. Gender mainstreaming includes all aspects of planning, implementing and monitoring of any plan or project. This study intended to find out how gender mainstreaming had been integrated in the upgrading of Karatina market in Nyeri County. The objectives of the study included: to establish the extent to which Gender Policies have been integrated in upgrading of Karatina market project, to establish the gender mainstreaming strategies employed in the project framework, to determine the gender-specific project performance indicators applied in the monitoring and evaluation process and to investigate the constraints facing gender mainstreaming in the upgrading of Karatina market. Study reviewed the historical development of and rationale for gender mainstreaming. The aftermath of the UN Decade for Women as seen in the establishment of national gender policies in many countries is highlighted. Institutionalization of gender issues in the country through the National Development Agenda, the current constitution , Vision 2030 Flagship project, the Presidential Directive of 2006 on Affirmative Action in favour of women, National Gender Policy 2000, Sessional Paper No.2 of 2006 and the Millennium Development Goals and especially the third and fifth Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been discussed. The research gap revealed was the need to delve into suitable strategies for gender mainstreaming at all stages of the project cycle and how to apply gender policies in projects. A descriptive survey research design was used. Stratified sampling was done in order to give every category of Karatina market project stakeholders an equal chance of being selected. Questionnaires were used as the instruments of data collection, which were pre-tested to check for validity and reliability. The raw data collected was analyzed by the use of descriptive statistics which included mean, mode and median by means of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Findings from this study revealed that gender policy and its guidelines were well known by both the project implementers and project beneficiaries. Such policies included the new Constitution, Presidential Directive of 2006 on 30%, National Gender Policy of 2000 and the National Commission on Gender and Development. Gender mainstreaming strategies included application of the one third rule of affirmative action in favour of women during recruitment of top management team members, consultation of project beneficiaries by Karatina Municipal Council prior to project implementation, inclusion of gender concerns in the Terms of Reference and concern for needs specific to men and women. Findings from this study also revealed that monthly and quarterly reports were inadequate as monitoring tools to indicate the gender – disaggregated data for management purpose. Constraints facing gender mainstreaming in the upgrading of Karatina market included lack of a gender expert and cultural barriers where women faced discriminatory attitudes from men. It was also evident that the community still considered construction industry as a male dominated territory. Discriminatory attitudes and pressure of work were a challenge to women in the decision- making organs. This study concludes that both men and women were fairly represented at all decision- making levels although there were constraints that hindered effective process of engendering project activities. The study recommends that the government simplifies the gender policy to make it easily understood and operationalised and that members of the public should be sensitized on gender balancing practices. Data has been presented using tables.