Aspects of gender subordination in pre-colonial Embu society of Kenya

This paper outlines the nature of the precolonial productive system of the Embu of Kenya prior to their integration into the market economy. It shows that the roots of women’s subordination today lie in the way in which they participated in subsistence agriculture, and thus predate the introduction of cash crops. It was not so much an unequal division of labour as the difference in access to land and male domination in decisionmaking that defined women’s subordination among the Embu. The paper is based on material collected during a field study carried out in the tea-dairy agro-ecological zone of Embu District, but also on the author’s personal experience when she grew up in the area. Bibliogr.

Title: Aspects of gender subordination in pre-colonial Embu society of Kenya
Author: Njiro, Esther
Year: 1990
Periodical: Bulletin of the International Committee on Urgent Anthropological and Ethnological Research
Issue: 32-33
Pages: 81-92
Language: English
Geographic term: Kenya
Abstract: This paper outlines the nature of the precolonial productive system of the Embu of Kenya prior to their integration into the market economy. It shows that the roots of women’s subordination today lie in the way in which they participated in subsistence agriculture, and thus predate the introduction of cash crops. It was not so much an unequal division of labour as the difference in access to land and male domination in decisionmaking that defined women’s subordination among the Embu. The paper is based on material collected during a field study carried out in the tea-dairy agro-ecological zone of Embu District, but also on the author’s personal experience when she grew up in the area. Bibliogr.