Indicators of gender inequality, poverty and human development in Kenya are examined. Significant and rising incidence of absolute poverty occurs in Kenya and women are more likely to be in poverty than men. Female/male ratios in Kenyan decision-making institutions are highly skewed against women and they experience unfavourable enrolment ratios in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. The share of income earned by women is much lower than men's share. General Kenyan indicators highlight declining GDP per capita, increased poverty rates especially for women, reduced life expectancy, a narrowing of the difference in female/male life expectancy rates, increased child mortality rates and an increase in the female child mortality rates. This deterioration results in an increased socio-economic burden on women, not adequately captured in the HPI, HDI, GDI and GEM. This paper advocates the use of household level gender disaggregated data because much gender inequality occurs in and emanates from the household level where culture plays a very important role in allocation of resources and decision-making. Because most human development indicators are aggregates or averages, they can be misleading. They need to be supplemented by distributional and disaggregated data as demonstrated in the Kenyan case. The importance is emphasised of studying coping mechanisms of household/families for dealing with economic hardship and other misfortunes, such AIDS.


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