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Discrimination against single women based on gender-constructed cultural norms

Author: 
Dorcas Kanana Muketha
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

This article highlights fundamental indicators of discrimination against single women in the Methodist Church in Kenya and in society. It aims to examine gender-constructed cultural norms that result in discrimination against single women. Single women face challenges due to the tradition and cultural belief that everyone should marry apart from those who are not allowed to because of religious duties. This notion has been integrated into the contemporary church and society, making it more difficult for those who are single by choice and those forced by circumstances. This article also presents how single women regard themselves and how they are understood and labelled by others. This paper is the result of a preliminary empirical study carried out in the months of June-August, 2007. The data was gathered predominantly through face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions with single women, church leaders, elderly men and married couples. Empirical materials were employed as primary sources that provide a backdrop to help understand the situation of single women in the contemporary church and society. For clarity, fluency and privacy, the names given to the informants are not their actual names.

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