Discrimination Against Women A Global Survey of the Economic, Educational, Social and Political Status of Women

By Eschel M. Rhoodie | Go to book overview

8. Case Study: Kenya Introduction

A careful undertaking to ascertain the status of women in Kenya must necessarily begin with an introduction to the several systems of law co-existent in Kenya today and their effect on the status of women. Kenya, like other former British colonial possessions, has several different systems of laws regulating various aspects of life. Dependent upon the aspect of life at issue (marriage, divorce, etc.), the applicable law may differ. There exist today four different legal systems governing the lives of men and women in Kenya. The multiplicity and overlap of the four different legal systems complicate the task of ascertaining the precise status of women in Kenya.

The systems of law existing in Kenya today are as follows: first, there is the imported law which Kenya inherited as an English colony -- such is statutory law; second is the customary (tribal) law which regulates the lives of the various ethnic groups where no legislation has altered or displaced such; and finally, there are the religious laws, primarily Hindu and Islamic. 1 Often the customary or religious laws have been eliminated in attempts to make the law on a particular subject uniform, as in the areas of devolution of property. But the uniformity may apply only to restricted elements of such areas of law, leaving particular topics to the prior law of the different ethnic groups.

A further difficulty in analyzing the situation for women in Kenya today lies in separating the Kenyan cultural traits from those left from the colonial period. As discussed below, many areas regulated by laws "left-over" from the colonial period necessarily reflect the Victorian values of the England of that time. Though Kenya achieved independence in 1963, the Kenyan laws reflective of English legislation remain very much intact in areas such as marriage, divorce, abortion, and employment.

The primary consideration of this case study is an overview of the legal and social status of women in Kenya. Rather than a complete study of every law of every ethnic group, the author will try to give the reader a general understanding of the four major systems of laws in Kenya today in the following areas: marriage, divorce, child custody, property ownership, inheritance rights, employment, political rights, and personal autonomy.


Family

Within marriage, the woman is the humble party -- the marriage has been arranged by, and continues to be, a relationship between the families of the

-125-

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Discrimination Against Women A Global Survey of the Economic, Educational, Social and Political Status of Women
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Part One Introduction 1
  • 1. the Evaluation and Presentation of Data 2
  • 2. the Status of Women: A Global View 13
  • 3. the Environment of Discrimination 34
  • Part Two: Legal and International Aspects 61
  • 4. the International World 62
  • 5. Constitutional and Statutory Differentiation 79
  • Part Three: the African World 99
  • 6. General Survey. 100
  • 7. Case Study: Nigeria 115
  • 8. Case Study: Kenya Introduction 125
  • 9. Case Study: South Africa 136
  • Part Four: the European Community 165
  • 10. General Survey 166
  • 11. Case Study: United Kingdom 191
  • 12. Case Study: France 201
  • 13. Case Study: West Germany 214
  • 14. Case Study: Switzerland 227
  • Part Five: North America 239
  • 15. Case Study: Canada 240
  • Conclusion 247
  • 16 Case Study: The United States 248
  • Part Six: the Communist East Bloc 289
  • 17. General Survey 290
  • 18. Case Study: the Soviet Union 304
  • Part Seven: Latin America 321
  • 19. General Survey 322
  • 20. Brief Case Studies of Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru 332
  • Part Eight: the Arab-Muslim World 345
  • 21. General Survey 346
  • 22. Case Study: Egypt 363
  • 23. Case Study: Tunisia 369
  • 24. Case Study: Iran 375
  • Part Nine: the Asian World 383
  • 25. General Survey 384
  • 26. Case Study: India 395
  • 27. Case Study: Japan 402
  • 28. Case Study: the People's Republic of China 417
  • Part Ten: Conclusions, Recommendations, Guide to Data, and Research Proposals 431
  • 29. Summary and Conclusions 432
  • 31. Data: Guide to Information Sources 481
  • 32. Research Proposals 505
  • Notes 519
  • Bibliography 587
  • Index 601
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