Changing roles of the Gikuyu women and their implications for the family
This is a study on the changing roles of the Gikuyu women and their implications for the family. The study subjects were women from Rwaka sublocation, ofKiambu district. They included: small and large scale farmers, house wives, business women and a key informant who was a leader of the women's group as well as a church elder. The basic questions addresses by the research project were: • What factors are responsible for the changing roles of the Gikuyu men and women? • What is the impact of education, career development, salary employment and access to and control of resources by woman on the family structure? The specific objectives were to investigate and explain the factors responsible for the changing roles of the Gikuyu woman and to find out the impact of these changes on the family. To answer he above questions twenty-five women were interviewed using questionnaires as well as the use of a key informant. The main findings of the study were: + The level of women investments on small and large-scale businesses had increased as a result of the saving groups and access to credit facilities. • The change in the Agikuyu family structure ha been influenced by education, western medicine, religion and dual-income earning families. • New economic opportunities for women had increased as a result of economic empowerment and economic autonomy. • There is an attitude change among women to the extent when there is a de facto man; she becomes the breadwinner without any stigmatization. • The has been an improvement on the skill level of women as a result of training and savings mobilization conducted by the women's' groups. Based on the findings the following recommendation were advanced: • The extent of empowerment and sensitization of rural women in Kenya should be reorganized and incorporated into the culture of these women to avoid rejection of this brilliant idea. • The most productive way of empowering both the men and women to assume their roles as ascribed by tradition without oppressing their human rights is by understanding how the traditional structure was organized before and after the colonial era. • Environmental and political factors affecting the empowerment of women and accentuating the change in the family structure should be minimum.