Assessing gender roles in a changing landscape: diversified agro-pastoralism in drylands of West Pokot, Kenya

Vera N. Karmebäck, John Ndung'u Wairore, Magnus Jirström, Gert Nyberg
2015 Pastoralism  
Previous studies in drylands have shown that while gender roles are becoming more flexible, privatization and formalization of land tenure tends to marginalize women in drylands while environmental degradation leads to differential changes in gender workload. Chepareria, a ward in West Pokot County, has undergone the abovementioned tenure and environmental changes and is nowadays dominated by private enclosures as a land management approach. This study reviewed in which ways these rangeland
more » ... osures have influenced gender roles in the dryland systems of Chepareria in West Pokot, with specific regard to division of labour, financial responsibilities and decision-making processes on the household level, and also tries to identify the underlying driving forces that have contributed to the observed changes. Our results indicate that the workload of women has increased under new land fragmentation processes in rangelands due to increased responsibilities in cattle herding and income generation, but also that due to this, women have gained higher influence in household decisions concerning the family economy. It was found that women to a larger extent than before are engaged in small-scale business such as the selling of farm products and poultry keeping, hence getting financial resources under their own control. In this way, women are involved in decision-making processes and income generation to a higher extent than before, though they are still excluded from certain traditionally male-dominated spheres both within and beyond the household, such as the sale of cattle and the handling of larger amounts of financial resources. Under the new land fragmentation processes in Chepareria, women are increasingly seen as crucial income earners and they are enjoying a higher degree of financial independence, more decision-making power and a louder voice than before in household and public matters.
doi:10.1186/s13570-015-0039-4 fatcat:syemjrvdrjdffn23fof7ls5cdm