Lived Experiences Of Women With PhDs In Kenya
The status of women across regions varies significantly. This is as a result of the uneven socio-economic development and the social, cultural and religious beliefs on the female gender. The state of women is affected by existing patriarchal systems across the world. In Africa, education for girls has been categorically pointed out as a means to fighting the existing forces of patriarchy. Emphasis on girl education has seen women, more than ever before, pursue higher education with the goal of achieving fulfilling professional and personal lives. Despite this milestone, the ability to realize the goals has played out differently in terms of their experiences of meaningful work, professional accomplishments, opportunities for career growth, compatibility of work and personal life. With specific reference to Kenya, this study explored perceptions, expectations and experiences of women with higher education qualifications (PhD) within the structures of the family, socio-economic, and cultural structures of the society. The study used mixed method approach utilizing both quantitative survey and qualitative research methods. Data was collected using questionnaires and focus group discussions. Findings show that the gender stereotypes and old paradigms still exist within the society. While the society superficially portrays highly educated women as knowledgeable and respectable members, the study found that female PhD holders still suffer gender related challenges from immediate family and their work places. The study concludes that achieving gender equality is not only about access to learning, but much more broadly, it is about challenging the learning environments, the attitudes, and the gender ideologies in the society.