Are Export Processing Zone (EPZ) employers gender sensitive? An analysis of gender employer–employee labour relations in Kenyan garment EPZs
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to investigate whether Export Processing Zone (EPZ) employers were gender sensitive when setting their working condition standards. The objectives of this study were to investigate the factors that affected male and female Kenyan garment employer–employee labour relations and their perceptions towards their working conditions. The study used random sampling to select a sample of 302 employees from a total population of 15,000 EPZ garment employees in Kenyan EPZs in November 2002. Self-administered questionnaires were the major data collection instrument. The findings revealed that gender plays an important role in shaping the perceptions of both male and female EPZ workers towards the state of their working conditions. EPZ working conditions were found to suit male more than female EPZ employees. The results indicate that EPZ employers are not gender sensitive when setting their EPZ working conditions standards. EPZ employers therefore need to raise their working conditions to a level that is suitable for the female employees who form the majority of their workforce.
Key words: Export Processing Zones, gender, Kenya, multinational enterprises, working conditions
Journal of Social Development in Africa Vol.19(2) 2004: 69-89