Effects of sexual harassment on women students’ access to opportunities and facilities: a case study of the university of Nairobi, Kenya
Various governments, Kenya included are signatories to international and national declarations which recommend the implementation of gender equity policies in access and participation in education. However, women who study and work in the universities experience different forms of discrimination and oppression. The discriminatory practices and hostile learning environment which sometimes make women become ‘outsiders’ are likely to slow down their ability to participate and perform well in different university programmes. The objective of the present study was to explore ways in which sexual harassment affect women students’ access to opportunities and facilities in the University of Nairobi. To achieve this objective, the researcher generated qualitative data from 30 in-depth interviews. Analysis of data, as discourse, was used to construct the meaning of men and women students’ perceptions of their experiences of sexual harassment and the extent to which this impacts on their access to opportunities and facilities. The research findings reveal that fear instilled by occurrences of sexual harassment, intimidation and sexual favours make it challenging for some women students to access supplementary sources of income, halls of residence, library and catering facilities. The research concludes that women students in the University of Nairobi experience discrimination at different levels: social and economic probably due to patriarchal norms and structures. The article is part of the findings from my PhD dissertation. Key words: sexual harassment; access; opportunities; facilities; chilly climate.