Gender Systems and Fertility in Christian and Muslim Villages of Kenya: Twenty Years of Change

An-Magritt Jensen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

This paper describes two contexts of rural and poor villages in Kenya. The villages are located in Christian villages in Western Province, and Muslim villages in Coast Province. The two contexts differ in terms of religion, ethnicity and cultural legacies. Twenty years ago the two provinces were situated at the extreme ranges of fertility levels in Kenya, Western at the top and Coast at the bottom. Presently both provinces are found at the upper end of the fertility range. The paper is focussed on ways in which gender systems in the two contexts have resulted in similar fertility outcomes over these twenty years, despite widely different processes. Villages in Western and Coast are explored through case studies in 1988/90 and repeated in 2011, at the start of the Kenyan fertility decline and after the stall.

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Presented in Session 219: Gender, Power, Sexual Health, and Family Planning