Perceptions regarding gender mainstreaming in organisations: a case study of Faulu Kenya
Kabui, Edith Njeri
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Human Development, if not engendered, is endangered. That is the simple but far-reaching message of Human Development Report 1995. Gender discrimination has remained pervasive in all parts of the world. The extent and nature varies considerably across countries and regions and internally across provinces district and divisions. According to a World Bank Report (2001), there is no region of the developing world where women are equal to men in legal, social or economic rights. Gaps are widespread in access to and control of resources, in economic opportunities, in power and in political voice. It is therefore important to promote gender equality as a vital cross cutting development strategy that seeks to enable all people, men and women alike, to escape poverty and improve their standards of living as they form a critical mass for development through gender mainstreaming. The United Nations (ECOSOC 1997/2002) defines gender mainstreaming as the process of assessing the implications for women and men of all planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels making women's as well as men's concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and social spheres so that both gender benefit equally and that inequality is not perpetuated. Gendered patterns have often frustrated fundamental transformation towards gender equality in development organizations. This is often reflected in organizational policy, strategy, culture, systems and procedures. As a result most of these organizations end up paying limited or no attention to existing structural inequalities of men and women despite the social role and the power they wield. Faulu Kenya is one of the Micro finance organizations that stands out in empowerment of women as one of their explicit goals. The organization has sought to transform women's lives through access to financial services individually and through groups. It is upon this platform that the researcher will sought to understand the extent of gender mainstreaming within its internal structure and organization; the factors that are embedded in the organizational fabric to establish gender sensitivity of the organization as a whole and which are evident in various policies, procedures and practice in the day to day running of the organization. The study will sought to understand the personal perceptions, options, assessments and attitudes of staff and beneficiaries with respect to gender mainstreaming, its legitimacy and usefulness in the organization and by extension the importance they attach to it in Faulu Kenya. Based on the findings emanating from the study, good practices were drawn and recommendations provided on strategies for improvement. The study findings were of significant importance to Faulu Kenya organization and beneficiaries, academicians and researchers. Faulu Kenya as an organization may utilize the findings as a starting point for intensified gender mainstreaming efforts. Academicians and researchers will also benefit from the findings as additional body of knowledge on gender rnainstreaming in organizations. The study was conducted in the Nairobi Ngong Road Offices, Faulu Kenya Head and Field office as a case study for gender mainstreaming process in organizations. The study population included staff at various levels, management, middle management or programme staff and support staff in the offices. The study also targeted beneficiaries who are members of groups benefiting who are benefiting from loans and business development services. It was conducted in Nairobi Headquarters and the adjoining Field office that serves areas of Dagorreti, Riruta, Langata Uthiru, Kawangware, and Kangemi areas. The researcher wishes to thank Faulu Kenya for the honor and kind permission to undertake this historic study and hopes that the Report will contribute to better programming and increased empowerment of the women of Kenya
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