Gender, legal frameworks and participation in agricultural marketing cooperatives in kenya a case study of Wamunyu diary cooperative society in Machakos.
In this study, I present the findings of a research project on gender, legal frameworks and participation in Agricultural co-operatives. The study sought to assess the interaction of gender, the various relevant laws (international, national and customary), and the socio-cultural factors, which influence low participation of women in agricultural marketing cooperatives (dairy) in Kenya, with special interest to Wamunyu Dairy cooperative in Machakos District. The goal of this study was to investigate incidences of gender inequity in Diary marketing cooperatives. And further look into what extent existing legal frameworks are the major causal factors of such incidences, from the view points of co-operative male and female members and other stakeholders. Numerous studies across the globe have demonstrated how women have remained marginalised from the mainstream sectors of development. Including how their confinement in the often under valued social sector has isolated them. Of important concern has been women's participation in political leadership and decision making levels. This concern has been identified as one of the key indicators under the MDG's goal on gender equality and women empowerment. Cooperatives are important vehicles for empowerment since they allow individuals with a common problem to come together to achieve goals that would not be otherwise achieved while acting individually. However, despite the Co-operative principles and values that proclaim equality, equity and democracy, gender imbalances abound. And this is largely so because Co-operatives operate within a broader institutional framework. Within which rules, norms and conventions expected to govern human behaviour are constructed, maintained, reinforced, challenged and in some cases reviewed. Since the World summit on social development (WSSD) and the Beijing conference, the concern on the status of women in cooperatives has remained a top priority agenda for ICA'. More so the issue of women's low level of active participation and their under-representation in decision making and leadership. A small scale, descriptive case study design has been employed. Both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis were used. Targeting selected male and female; dairy producers; Co-operators; executive committee and staff members of Wamunyu dairy Co-operative, Government officers from the Ministry of Cooperative development, as well as other secondary Sources. . A literature survey reviewed the international, national and customary legal frameworks as they apply to women in Kenya. Since this is a contemporary phenomenon a case study method was undertaken, in order to deliberately cover the pertinent contextual conditions. And seek to provide a deeper understanding of the complex relationship between the cooperative legal framework and the socio-cultural contexts. For the convenient of the researcher in organizing logistics for data collection, Wamunyu Dairy Cooperative society, in Machakos district was chosen. However, it represents a typical Diary cooperative society in semi arid areas of Kenya.