Law and the status of women in Kenya: the example of Laikipia district
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This paper explores the question: how does law affect women's participation in development in Kenya generally and Laikipia District in particular within the framework of economic, social, cultural and related factors. Thus it seeks to determine the nature extent and impact of gender discrimination against women from a legal stand-point. Through field data obtained in Laikipia, three types of legal constraints - constraints emanating from legal sanction, ineffectual law and legal lacunae which undermine women's participation in development are identified. Finally, a reform agenda is proposed. In the paper, an attempt is made to examine the legal problems encountered by: : women en masse : upper and middle class women : peasant and working class women (working women) due to a) general exploitation of working class people in a capitalist system b) exploitation and discrimination by upper and middle class men and women c) exploitation and discrimination by oppressed and exploited spouse or "boy-friend" and his relatives. It is concluded, inter alia, that because women in both rural and urban settings hardly have land rights, credit, employment or business opportunities, their independent contribution to free enterprise development is significantly curtailed. Further women's participation in development would be enhanced if there was a guarantee of personal access to the fruits of their labour. By distancing women from the means of production and the products of their labour, society pays by having a lower level of development than would otherwise occur.