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Published:September 21st, 2011 11:12 EST
The Empowerment of Women in Kenya

The Empowerment of Women in Kenya

By Sophie Akinyi

Women in African societies were for a long time perceived as wealth. The more the number of girls a family had, the more the wealth it could acquire when it came to payment of their dowry. Dowry is a form of payment by the groom`s family to the bride`s father. Normally, the payment is in the form of animals. This also depends on the culture of the bride`s family. Payment could be goats, sheep, camel or cattle; but the latter is the most accepted in many communities.

According to Kenyan communities, payment of dowry is the only proof that one is legally married to her husband. Whether people have a civil, traditional or Christian wedding, back at home some payment has to be done. It is until recently that few people have started accepting money instead of animals in the place of dowry. This does not make much difference as there is still some exchange.

To this effect, women were to put up with whatever cropped up in their marriage life. Some guys would treat their wives badly since they felt they `bought` them. These were the times when women had no place in society. Their defined place was in the kitchen. They would cook, clean, feed and take care of the family. They were never to participate in any conversation where men were involved. This meant that every decision was made for them and they only had to fulfill. Gone are those days when these things happened; the modern Kenyan woman is now more independent and powerful.

Speaking of independence, the country has seen emancipation of its women. Presently, they emanate power and confidence something that will see Kenya reach greater heights. A majority of them are focusing on education and furthering their careers. The then trend of staying at home is fading radically. Women are proving to be of equal importance as their male counterparts and this has yielded great results. For instance it is normal to find women pursuing careers that are male dominated like engineering, piloting and medicine.

The fight for liberating Kenyan women has not been easy due to negative criticism from people practicing male dominance. This has however not deterred empowering women groups from coming up.

Some of the women groups include:

Kenya Women Fellowship Association (KWFA)

Kenya Women`s Society (KWS)

African Women Link


This is a positive move for Kenya and the world at large; when a woman is empowered the whole society improves.