Transformation of Gender Power Relations in Igembe Central, Meru County, Kenya Between 1895 And 2010
Maranya, Zipporah Nkirote
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This study set out to explore the changes in gender power relations among the people of Igembe Central, Meru County in Kenya. It focuses on the pre-colonial power relations between men and women, the transformation of gender power relations during the colonial and post-colonial eras among the Ameru. The study aimed to achieve the following objectives; to examine the concept of power relations between men and women before colonialism, investigate the transformation of gender power relations during the colonial and post-colonial periods among the Ameru of Igembe central. The study was based on gender role and Social Construction Theories. Descriptive survey design was used for the study. Purposive sampling and snowballing techniques were used to sample respondents for the study. The study used both primary and secondary methods during data collection. Primary data and secondary data were derived from field research, archives, libraries, published books, journals, unpublished thesis, and internet. Question guides and interview schedules were used as instruments to collect data. Question guides were used to collect information from the local targeted population. Interview schedules were used to collect data from relevant local administrators, religious leaders, and village elders. Data was qualitatively analyzed and presented in narrative form. It was established that during the pre-colonial era the community had distinctive male and female identities which produced complementary relationships. The twentieth and the twenty first century have seen a shift in gender relations. The study further indicates that changes brought about by the colonial institutions had eroded the traditional laws that guaranteed balance in the society. Gender power relations underwent changes emanating from socio-economic and dynamics to fit within the capitalist production system. The study established that the needs of the contemporary society are changing and so as the gender power relations. Therefore, there is need to ensure that the socio-economic and political undertakings creates harmony in the society.