The status of the women in Nairobi
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This study focuses on the Sikh Women of Nairobi. On a wider scale, it adds to our under standing of the Sikh people, who represent a Pariah group, and who until recent1y were not distingujshcc1 by most of the world's population from other Asian Communities. At the same time, the study p rovi.des some insight into the plight of women in the Third World. The need to understand the status of Third World Women who in many places are underprivileged, and sometimes even opressed, was emphasized at the U.N. Women's Conference (including the N.G.O.) that took place in Nairobi in July 1985. The present study, therefore, contributes to the understanding of the status of women by giving a detailed account of the state of affairs in one immigrant community in Kenya. More particularly, the study is interested in mapping out the changes that have occurred in this community with respect to the status of their women ..._.. (Li) 'lhi s study of the Sikh women III Na iro h i, "":15 there- fore <1 small a t t cmn t to provide s uc h informCltion, which is missing not only on the Sikh community alone, hut also on Third World immigrant women in gcner<11. The study which was c(lrried out between 1985 (Inti1986 found that by immigration from a rUfal environment in India to an IIrban environment in Kenya, anrl from :lgrictlltur:l1 to business and ar t i.s an occupatiolls, there have been both, structllral and cultural changes at the level of family and community. One of the major consequences h<1S been a trend towards relative equ<11ity of sexes in the family. Women nre now exposed to high levels of education attainment, engaged in W;lf~CLa bour and can go to n laces UJl- nccompa n i ed . These are things women would not hav e heen allowed to do in the nast. Moreover, under the Kenyan Taw, women can now ideally inherit from their husbands, which traditionally was not possible, becCluse of the rille of prelllogeniture in the Sikh community of Kenya. The study, therefore concluded th;:!tthe status of women in the Sikh community in N;:!lrobi is definitely higher today than when the Sikhs first arrived early this century, although many changes have taken place within the traditional frameW0r~ Despite those •changes, however, women are still IO\<Jerin status than the men. One way of explaining 1\1 hat has har r ened is that wit 11 tim e, eve ry cu lt ure must change to accommodate new idea~ in order to survive as a distinct culture. To be specific the research found that the Sikh community has been responding and adjusting to the loca:l circumstances, in its own way,due to its special characteristics of a Pariah group, although most of the changes result from responses to Western influence rather than the African ethnic cultures .