International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 305

Full Length Research Paper

Engendering development: Demystifying patriarchy and its effects on women in rural Kenya

Loreen Maseno and Susan M. Kilonzo*
Department of Religion, Theology and Philosophy, Maseno University, P. O. Box 333, Maseno 40105, Kenya.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 17 December 2010
  •  Published: 28 February 2011



The paper examines the effects of the culture of patriarchy on the development process, and particularly its effects on women. This is borne out of the perceived concerns and challenges of the third millennium development goal (MDG) which was coined with an aim of promoting gender equality and women empowerment. The challenge of this goal however is its lack of enough consideration of the cultural perspectives of a wide range of cultures some of which are discussed in this article. The paper gives a critical analysis of both secondary and primary information on the efforts of engendering development as well as the effects of patriarchy on the same. Two Kenyan districts have been purposively sampled to provide illustrative case studies that will strengthen the theoretical arguments on patriarchy and feminism. In this context, the paper examines how development has been engendered and the challenges faced in the concepts and theories supporting gender and development (GAD), women and development (WAD) and women in development (WID) arguments. The paper also analyses the voices of both men and women with regard to patriarchy in these two regions. The findings of the research indicate that lack of capacity building and sensitization remains one major strand of economic challenge among women. A re-examination of strategies used for policy implementation in some of the African societies therefore remains imperative if the MDGs are ever to be realized.


Key words: Capacity building, demystifying patriarchy, engendering development, feminism, gender equality, millennium development goals, rural Kenya.