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Gendered expenditure decisions: evidence from Kenya

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This paper examines the status of women in Kenyan households. It finds that low-income women, particularly those in rural areas, have limited household bargaining power and freedom to make independent decisions. This is significantly linked to the substantial barriers to female land ownership. Women are insufficiently compensated for their labour on male-owned farms, and face limited non-farm income-earning opportunities. Women’s disempowerment in the household may have negative implications for family welfare. Agricultural revenues accrued directly to men are frequently used for personal expenditure rather than family needs. Furthermore, an econometric analysis of personal expenditure presented in this paper reveals that children are not treated equally in households where women have little or no bargaining power. It is recommended that Kenya pursue land reform and take steps to improve women’s access to and control of income.
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