Challenges Facing Career Women In Kenya

By Ujana Nyo

Ujana Nyo is a marketing specialist in a Kenyan Market Research Company. She holds BSc in Computer Science from the University of Nairobi and pursuing her post graduate studies at the same school.

Ujana Nyo is a marketing specialist in a Kenyan Market Research Company. She holds BSc in Computer Science from the University of Nairobi and pursuing her post graduate studies at the same school.

In the contemporary Kenyan society, many businesses and working women face several obstacles and challenges that men do not. Career women who have kids undergo even more demand on energy, time, and resources. Besides, several women experience gender discrimination in the place of work. But do you know that women in Kenya are not less doing well than their men? Nowadays, the number of women starting up businesses in Kenya is increasing. Kenyan women are creative and capable of succeeding regardless of the challenges they undergo. In this article, I discuss some of the problems Kenyan career women – like me – in Kenya face in their quest for career advancement.

Male Chauvinism

Kenya has been a male-dominated society since time immemorial. There has been and is a huge societal injustice against women. Career Women in male-dominated work environments are often unnoticed, and their work is mainly demeaned by their male colleagues. Although there has been a lot of effort from human right activists and the Kenyan government especially during the president Kibaki’s era to support women’s rights, there still exists a huge gap. For instance, most of the women have to get the consent of their fathers or husbands to pursue their careers. As a result, several women end up taking careers they never desired in the first place.

Family Responsibilities

In Kenya, women are mainly expected to be responsible and be devoted mothers and wives. Women perform the primary role and have to carry out day-to-day house chores. Therefore, it becomes more difficult for career women who have to dedicate their energy both at the workplace and their home.
This is a complex role as men play a secondary part (or even insignificant) in taking care of the family affairs.

Domestic Violence

Additionally, the majority of Kenyan women experience domestic violence that negatively affects their self-confidence and self-esteem. Even, single career women experience abuse from their male family members and find it hard to pursue their careers as a result of several societal pressures.

Limited Mobility

Compared to men, women’s mobility is much more limited. This is caused by the immutable laws imposed by Kenyan government since colonialism. Such laws require husband’s approval to process travelling credentials for his wife or a father’s or brother’s approval for single women. Additionally, women cannot travel freely because of rising insecurity, especially at night, thus, they forfeit the benefits of night-shift.

Risk Bearing Capabilities

Most women mainly in rural Kenya are economically unstable with low education level. These aspects decrease their capability to handle risks in their work, which in turn hampers their full potential in undertaking jobs and become entrepreneurs since capability to bear risk is an integral aspect of a prosperous career.

The efforts of aspiring and experienced career women in Kenya is indispensable. This is because they can offer sustainable growth owing to their natural individuality such as love and care.
The Kenyan government should step in and find ways of getting the road paved for more women to pursue stable careers and get more education. Finally, the society as a whole must stop undermining the efforts of women as well as regarding them as weaker gender. What a man can do; a woman can do better.





Originally posted 2016-04-03 19:38:57.

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