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Abstract

Despite the existence of elaborate legal frameworks in Kenya that guarantee gender equity in all spheres of life, women academics in Kenyan universities still encounter many roadblocks in their quest to become professors. One position that has dominated recent discourse regarding the promotion of women in Kenyan universities is that women have generally arrived late into academia. It is also argued that the conflict between women’s traditional roles at home and productive work interferes with academic leadership. This paper offers a rebuttal of these arguments, and gives empirical statistics on the number of women PhDs that have come through the ranks in Kenya during the past 15 years. It is guided by African feminism theory in the analysis of whether the absence of female professors in Kenyan universities is occasioned by the cultural paradigms of family and work; a decline in tenure positions in academic areas where women are dominant; and, a male supported administration. Finally, the paper evaluates the strategies that female academicians have adopted to break the ‘glass ceiling’ in Kenyan universities.

Note on the Author

Ms. Bhoke Chacha is a Tutorial Fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Nairobi, Kenya where she teaches both undergraduate and post-graduate courses. She is also undertaking her Ph.D. studies in the same department. Her thesis title is “Glass Ceiling Effect on Promotion of Women Academics to Senior Positions in Public Universities in Kenya”. Her research interest areas include Sociology of Gender, Sociology of Education and Community Development.

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