Gendered Access and Control of Land, Dairy Products and their Influence on Household Welfare in Murang’a County, Kenya
Mwangi, Judy Wambui
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This study sought to investigate the gendered access and control of land and dairy products with a focus on their influence on household welfare. The study was done in Murang’a County-Kenya, guided by the following objectives: to establish the status of access and control of dairy products and land by men and women; to examine the status of welfare in households practicing dairy farming and perceptions of men and women on the influence of access and control of land and dairy products. Additionally, the study identified strategies that can be put in place to enhance access and control of land and dairy products for improved household welfare. Four null hypotheses were also tested to establish the relationship between gender and access as well as control over land and dairy products. The study was guided by the Marxist feminism theory advanced by Friedrich Engels (1884) and Women Empowerment Framework (WEF) by Sarah Longwe (1991). The study utilized cross-sectional research design while purposive sampling technique was used to select Kigumo Sub-county as the area of the study. Further, simple random sampling technique was used to select four hundred and forty-two (442) male and female headed households practicing dairy farming in the Sub-county to participate in the study. Selected community leaders and key county officers were included as key informants. To generate the required data, the study utilized interview schedules for the selected male and female household heads, a guided questionnaire for the key informants and an observation checklist. Quantitative data was analyzed through the use of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) while qualitative data was analyzed on the basis of study objectives. The study established that the main dairy products included dairy cows, milk, manure, calves and biogas which were found to be differently accessed and controlled by men and women. It is these differences in the control and access to the land and dairy products that were found to have differential influence on household welfare. The household welfare was gauged on the basis of the parameters drawn from the Kenya Constitution 2010 Article 43 on social and economic rights namely health, housing, food, water and education. In this respect, the study established that women and men’s access and control over land and dairy products had a relationship with the provision of household welfare based on the above parameters, as further confirmed by the testing of the null hypotheses. Male and female household heads were found to hold different perceptions on gender and access/control to resources with a bias against women, mostly influenced by culture, religion, awareness on legal requirements and individuals’ level of formal education. The study identified and recommended gender awareness raising, enhancement of adult education program, enforcement of legal requirements on human rights as the main strategies for enhancing gender equity on access and control over land and dairy products for enhanced household welfare.