Women’s Empowerment in Kenya

Developing a Measure
Women’s Empowerment in Kenya

Developing a Measure

It has long been recognised that women’s empowerment is a precondition for sustained economic development and poverty reduction; and that it is inexorably linked to social transformation. Empowerment of women and girls has therefore been incorporated in numerous policy and legal instruments like the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Maputo Protocol amongst others. In addition to signing and ratifying these documents, the Government of Kenya mainstreamed women’s empowerment through several articles in its 2010 Constitution. The topic holds an important place in the country’s key development policy and strategy documents.

Progress in monitoring Kenya’s achievements in enhancing women’s empowerment has been slower in the absence of an official measure. This report aims to fill this data and knowledge gap by conceptualising and developing an official measure for women’s empowerment in Kenya that is strongly embedded in the country’s context and existing legislation and policy documents.

This report has been prepared by a working group of national and international experts and benefited from discussions, inputs and comments from various parties concerned with evidence generation for policy-oriented decision making. The idea of preparing the report was first mooted towards end of 2018. However, rigorous work on initial data diagnostics and related comparative analysis took place between March and November 2019 while report writing, and editing was completed by early 2020.

In addition, the Kenya Women’s Empowerment Index draws on important legislative and policy documents at the national and international level, is based on an in-depth literature review and empirical analysis, and is contextualized through extensive consultations with numerous stakeholders in the country. Empirical analysis was carried out using the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) and, as such, provides a baseline for the first comprehensive and systematic measure of women’s empowerment in Kenya. Furthermore, analysis was conducted separately for women in union (married women and women residing with a partner), and for women not in union (single women, widows, divorcees, and separated women).

Download the full report from UN WOMEN.

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