Women’s Changing Opportunities and Aspirations Amid Male Outmigration: Insights from Makueni County, Kenya

Crossland, M and Paez Valencia, A M and Pagella, T and Mausch, K and Harris, D and Dilley, L and Winowiecki, L (2021) Women’s Changing Opportunities and Aspirations Amid Male Outmigration: Insights from Makueni County, Kenya. The European Journal of Development Research (TSI). ISSN 0957-8811

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In Makueni County, Kenya, an area experiencing intensifying migration flows, we investigate the aspired futures of rural men and women using a novel methodology combining a narrative-based survey tool, focus group discussions and semistructured interviews. Our findings indicate that, in the absence of men and presence of norms restricting women’s movement out of rural life, women are becoming increasingly engaged in farm management. Women’s aspirational narratives focused on commercialising farm activities, likely reflecting their changing agricultural opportunity space and new realities as farm managers. We highlight that only considering aspirations at the household level overlooks differing individual contributions, agency over various household income streams and individuals’ changing roles throughout life. Based on our findings, we make recommendations for further aspirations research including explicit consideration of intrahousehold heterogeneity and how individual strategies and aspirations interrelate and are negotiated at the household level to build an overall livelihood strategy.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : East & Southern Africa
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Smallholder agriculture, Agency, Gender relations, Generation, Intrahousehold dynamics, Livelihood strategies, Feminisation
Subjects: Others > Livelihoods
Others > Smallholder Agriculture
Others > Gender Research
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 16 May 2021 11:54
Last Modified: 16 May 2021 11:54
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/11800
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41287-021-00362-8
Acknowledgement: This work was undertaken as part of, and funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC), CGIAR Research Program on Policy, Markets and Institutions (PIM), CGIAR Research Program on Forest Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), grant numbers 2000000520 and 2000000976, project titled, “Restoration of degraded land for food security and poverty reduction in East Africa and the Sahel: taking successes in land restoration to scale”. We would like to thank the women and men who participated in this research for sharing their time and insights, and gratefully acknowledge the support of the data collection team and community facilitators, including Stephen Maithya, Sylvester Muendo, Francisca Mutua, Mercy Mwea and Esther Kiura. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.
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