Gender Labour Relations in Selected Industries in Thika, Kiambu County, Kenya, 1945 - 2010
Kanorio, Gituma Doris
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This study examined gender labour relations in some manufacturing industries in Thika, Kiambu County. It mainly focused on the formal industries, covering the period between 1945 and 2010. The study was guided by three objectives with first one examining the historical development of industries within Thika Town Constituency between 1945 and 1963. The second objective focused the effect of those industries on gender relations from 1963 to 1985 whereas the third objective examined the impact of the Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) on gender relations from 1985 up to 2010. The data collection methods entailed descriptive research design with an interview guide, which was designed to collect qualitative information on gender labour relations. Purposive sampling technique was used targeting 33 respondents mainly males and females aged between 20 to 80 years. The sample population included the former and current workers of the existing and collapsed industries, officials from labour office, development officer, social services officer and local administrators within Thika Town Constituency. In addition, data was collected from primary and secondary sources. Primary data included oral interviews and archival sources from Kenya National Archives and government papers. Secondary information was obtained from the Post-Modern Library (Kenyatta University) and Jomo Kenyatta Memorial Library (University of Nairobi), Kenya National Libraries (Thika branch) and department of labour in Thika Town Constituency. The information gathered was organized into historical themes and analysed using gender analysis theory. This is because gender-based analysis deviates from women issues to consider structures that are affected by both men and women. The study revealed that although education could be necessary, it is not a sufficient condition to explain the inequality and discrimination existing for the employment of women within the manufacturing industries. In addition, it revealed that gender differences provide a mechanism, which provides a limited range of occupation options for women and consequently hindering their job opportunities.