Post-graduate research adds to growing evidence base of Kenya’s gender data drive.
The research papers are an important step in supporting evidence-based policies by addressing the disconnect between researchers and policymakers.
Sixteen master’s research papers from University of Nairobi (UoN) have been converted into a compendium entitled “Gender Statistics for Evidence-Based Policies: Women’s Economic Empowerment, Health, and Gender-Based Violence” to bridge gaps in data and support evidence-based gender policies in Kenya.
The publication was produced as part of the Women Count programme, in collaboration with the University of Nairobi (UoN), Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and State Department for Gender (SDfG). Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the project identified students and provided grants to develop their research which focussed on primary areas of gender policy including women’s health and reproductive rights, economic empowerment and gender based violence (GBV).
“The students’ grant program aims to build capacity for gender statistics research as well as increase the pool of gender statisticians in Kenya” said Anna Mutavati, UN Women Country Representative.
“This is while disseminating the findings to a wider audience to influence evidence-based policy and decision-making on matters pertaining to gender equality and women’s economic empowerment”.
Key findings to help end poverty, GBV and achieve the SDGs
Cynthia Oliech, presenting her research during the launch event in Nairobi, hopes it will help increase women’s access to financial services and reduce poverty. Cynthia’s research investigated the institutional challenges that affect men and women fish traders to access financial capital in Homa Bay County.
“One factor was the perceived discrimination when loans are offered to individuals as well as perceived high-interest rates, short repayment time and need for collateral especially faced by women fish traders,” said Cynthia.
In the area of women’s reproductive health, results from the book show that one in every five adolescents in Kenya has had a repeat pregnancy, with the probability of repeat pregnancy declining with higher levels of education and increasing with higher poverty.
“Reducing unintended adolescent pregnancy therefore stands as an important target for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to poverty, health, education, and gender equality,” said Christabel Gero, whose research focused on women’s reproductive health.
Research findings on survivors of sexual violence show that 53% of respondents in the study neither disclosed a violation nor sought help; another 10% of the victims disclosed the violation but did not seek help. Fear of repercussions, shame, stigma, and a feeling of helplessness were identified as hindering women victims’ decision to report sexual violence. Less educated women were also found to be less likely to report sexual violence against them.
The project began in March 2019 with a three-fold object to build a pool of gender statisticians, access under-exploited gender statistics, and stimulate public discussions on the various policy areas of the research. Beyond the student’s research, the Women Count programme in Kenya has produced a series of studies that give policy makers a clearer picture on the lived inequalities of men and women across various social, political and economic dynamics.