Analysis of factors affecting women in import industry in Kenya
Ndungu, P. W.
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Women in business are facing many problems that are specific to their gender, which has resulted to poverty. Gendered poverty is the recognition that women and men face poverty for different reasons and both experience and respond to it differently. For instance, one of the key factors that have been found to contribute to poverty among women is lack of property rights, which means that women are marginalized from access to traditional credit and savings sources. Establishing the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the import industry would assist in setting up strategies to deal with such challenges, thereby contributing to the third Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. It says that in many parts of the world, poverty is a larger problem for women than it is for men simply because in some places women are not allowed to become educated or work outside the home to provide for their families. Because of this, the third Millennium Development Goal is directed at achieving gender equity around the world. In Kenya, studies show that entrepreneurship is becoming an increasingly popular career choice for women (Munyua, 2009). Most of the Kenyan women entrepreneurs indicate that their main reasons for going into business ventures included the need for achievement, autonomy and flexibility, along with providing for and educating their children (Wanjira, et al. 2008). However, as reported by Kibas and K' Aol (2004), more female-owned enterprises than male close down. The main reasons for women-owned business closure were lack of funds, lack of customers, too much competition, and personal reasons, for example having to take care of children. This study will analyse the factors affecting women in import industry in Kenya. The purpose of this study was to analyse the factors affecting women in import industry in Kenya and propose strategies that can be used to counter such factors. The objectives of the study were to: establish the ex factors affecting women in import industry in Kenya, examine the extent to which internal factors affect women in import industry in accessing business specific information needed for business growth, assess the business performance of women in import industry in Kenya and propose strategies that can be employed by women in import industry to counter the external and internal factors affecting their businesses. The study was exploratory and employed a descriptive survey design. The study was carried out in Nairobi Province, Kenya. The target population was all women entrepreneurs in the import industry in Nairobi City. Snowball sampling technique was used to obtain 30 participants for the study. Data was collected using a questionnaire and a focus group discussion guide. Data was assorted first and then analyzed using quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques. Qualitative data was analysed by organizing the responses thematically in line with the objectives of the study. Quantitative data was analysed by using frequencies, means, mode and percentages as well as correlation analysis. The study established that women entrepreneurs could accomplish a lot in the business world if it were not for the challenges facing them, especially in obtaining finances for the expansion of their businesses and being looked down upon because of their sex. The study recommends that the government should lessen the regulations in business registration and shorten the time period for waiting for the license; come up with strict measures to curb corruption at the entry points so that everybody is treated equally in duty payments, among others.