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Social Norms and Practices on Gender and Land Rights in Gituamba Ward, Gatundu North Sub-County, Kiambu, Kenya

Abstract:The study was carried out to establish how the existing social norms and practices shape men and women land rights in Gituamba Ward, Gatundu North Sub-county, Kiambu County, Kenya. Gituamba Ward has an estimated population of 27,587 residing in approximately 54.80 Sq. Km according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 2013. The study was guided by both the theory of Gender and Intersectionality. To answer this question the study applied a qualitative research design utilizing in depth interviews to explore men’s and women’s lived experiences on gender and land rights in Gituamba Ward. Observation was also applied in the study using checklists. The target population was couples of different social categories who have been legally married or have cohabited for at least two years aged between 18 and 65 years. The researcher used different interview guides to collect information from 12 married couples, 4 Focus group discussions (FGDs) and 8 Key informants. Sampling of respondents was generally purposive where the married couples utilized maximum variation sampling, FGDs applied homogeneous sampling and expert sampling for key informants. To enhance reliability the study triangulated data collected from interviews with that of FGDs while validity was ensured through review of research instruments with supervisors, lecturers and peers. Qualitative data was collected, sorted, coded and manually transcribed and results were presented in summarized report and direct quotations and pseudonyms from the participants.The study found that men through inheritance are the land owners while women own it through marriage but in case of death it becomes woman’s property. The role of men was found to head in production and the sale of cash crops while women were found to be more concerned with the production of food crops. With regard to decision-making men were found to make major decisions while woman were left to decide on sale of food crops if not much or if perceived to be of lesser value. The conclusion of the study wasthat gender intersects with age, educational level, social class, occupation and religion to form men and women oppression in Gituamba Ward. The study recommended that both the national and county governments should commit resources to sensitize on gender equality on land and fight corruption. There is need for specific gender and land policy considering that both men and women should not be taken as a homogeneous group hence considering all other social categories. The local community and individual couples should enhance social cohesion and create awareness on equality in land rights. Key terms:Gender, Social Norms, land rights, Practices, Inter-sectionality

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