Gendered Perceptions of Power and Decision‐Making in Rural Kenya

19 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2018

See all articles by Noora-Lisa Aberman

Noora-Lisa Aberman

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Julia Behrman

New York University (NYU)

Regina Birner

University of Hohenheim

Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

Development policies and programmes rest on assumptions about what constitutes power and how to change power dynamics. However, they rarely consider local understandings of power. In this article we ask how these common assumptions correspond with socially and culturally specific ideas about what power is, who can hold power, and how power can be transferred, in rural communities in Kenya's lake region. We find that men and women are constantly negotiating for power in the household, within the bounds of their gendered limitations. And the predominant zero‐sum conception of power may undermine common development approaches to empowerment. However, the results also highlight some exceptions to this conceptualization, as well as the value of taking a whole‐family approach to empowerment.

Keywords: Africa, gender, household bargaining, Kenya, power

Suggested Citation

Aberman, Noora-Lisa and Behrman, Julia and Birner, Regina, Gendered Perceptions of Power and Decision‐Making in Rural Kenya (July 2018). Development Policy Review, Vol. 36, Issue 4, pp. 389-407, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3192675 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/dpr.12257

Noora-Lisa Aberman (Contact Author)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Julia Behrman

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

Regina Birner

University of Hohenheim ( email )

Fruwirthstr. 48
Stuttgart, 70599
Germany

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