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Gender, Power and Groups
in Western Kenya
Presentation by Noora-Lisa Aberman
Study collaborators: Barrack Okoba, Elizabeth...
Project Rationale
• Men and women are differently affected
by climate change and have different
priorities for adaptation;...
Study
• Qualitative study examining power
and decision making dynamics
between men and women in farmers’
groups;
• Data co...
Study
• Component 1: How do communities in
Western Kenya understand/define power
and decision making?
Alsop warns that dev...
Study
• 16 gender-disaggregated focus group
interviews with active farmers’ groups in
South Nyanza (Homa Bay and
surroundi...
Preliminary results
Power defined as:
– Accomplishments: hard work and results
– Ability to influence or control another
• May be seen as domi...
Power defined as:
– Ability to influence or control another
• Frames power as “zero-sum game”  if you
gain power, I loose...
• Women frame power as something
viewed or perceived externally
– When others view your hard work and
results
• "What I wo...
Power for men:
• (as described by men and women)
framed as “natural” and “God-given”
– “According to Luo tradition and
acc...
Appreciation of harmony:
• Seemingly contradicting the “control”
definition of power
• In the home, women are seen as larg...
Appreciation of harmony:
• In the group, collective decision making
is attributed to the formal governing
structures—rules...
Implications
• Zero-sum conception of power may
hinder success of empowerment
initiatives
– Collective power ideal in grou...
Implications
• In addition to increasing women’s
control over assets, increasing their
ability to assess their own power s...
Gender, power and groups in Western Kenya
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Gender, power and groups in Western Kenya

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This presentation was held by Noora-Lisa Aberman on 14 May 2014 at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi Kenya, at a gender and climate change workshop. The workshop was organise by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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Transcript of "Gender, power and groups in Western Kenya "

  1. 1. Gender, Power and Groups in Western Kenya Presentation by Noora-Lisa Aberman Study collaborators: Barrack Okoba, Elizabeth Okiri, Mary Oyunga, & Paul Tana (KARI); George Otiep (CARITAS); Regina Birner (Uni Hohenheim); Julia Behrman (NYU-Sociology)
  2. 2. Project Rationale • Men and women are differently affected by climate change and have different priorities for adaptation; • Climate change adaptation “political” process with distributional implications; • Individuals with decision-making power or control over assets better able to adapt; • Farmers’ groups are key adaptive strategy in Kenya.
  3. 3. Study • Qualitative study examining power and decision making dynamics between men and women in farmers’ groups; • Data collection on-going; field work lead by KARI
  4. 4. Study • Component 1: How do communities in Western Kenya understand/define power and decision making? Alsop warns that development organizations working to promote women’s empowerment “without any clear and explicit conceptual underpinning”, may end up perpetuating the systems and structures that one is trying to change (2004, 16).
  5. 5. Study • 16 gender-disaggregated focus group interviews with active farmers’ groups in South Nyanza (Homa Bay and surroundings, primarily Luo people) • Region chosen for ease of access and high concentration of groups working on adaptation technologies (sustainable agriculture) • Interviews translated, transcribed and thematically coded with qualitative software
  6. 6. Preliminary results
  7. 7. Power defined as: – Accomplishments: hard work and results – Ability to influence or control another • May be seen as domination or supportive influence • “I have power in organizing my family when I want to do something, power for planning”
  8. 8. Power defined as: – Ability to influence or control another • Frames power as “zero-sum game”  if you gain power, I loose control and thus also loose power • “I am a member and the leaders that we have are good, that is why I don’t have to go beyond them [in power] because I don’t see anything bad about them.”
  9. 9. • Women frame power as something viewed or perceived externally – When others view your hard work and results • "What I would like to do to [increase my power] is to have a good house and when people pass by they see, and also my children to have very good education and people would say that this lady she struggled to teach her kids and now her kids are professors."
  10. 10. Power for men: • (as described by men and women) framed as “natural” and “God-given” – “According to Luo tradition and according to the bible, men are more powerful than women, but according to the government all people are equal.”
  11. 11. Appreciation of harmony: • Seemingly contradicting the “control” definition of power • In the home, women are seen as largely responsible for maintaining harmony. • Masculine ideals are threatened by departures from harmony and control: – “…when my wife annoyed me…instead of doing anything I just told her to pack and leave. The reason why my powers reduced is because I did not do anything to her… And my family members told me to forgive and I just forgave her.”
  12. 12. Appreciation of harmony: • In the group, collective decision making is attributed to the formal governing structures—rules and by-laws. • However, women focus only on formal structure—unexamined faith in “how things should work” • Men also acknowledge departures from equality due to individuals’ characteristics—e.g., a wealthy group member has more decision making power
  13. 13. Implications • Zero-sum conception of power may hinder success of empowerment initiatives – Collective power ideal in groups may promote conceptual cross-learning for household power conceptions to address this. – “Though women should be controlled by men, in a group they are the majority and they do influence and have a lot of control in the group activities.”
  14. 14. Implications • In addition to increasing women’s control over assets, increasing their ability to assess their own power status will promote greater awareness of the gaps
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