||This research project aims to identify which aspect of society in Kakamega, Kenya,
wields the most influence over perceptions of women’s education. Through conducting
primary research in the form of surveys, interviews, and focus groups, this research
determines what most affects a parent’s decision to send a daughter to school. The
findings reveal a dynamic process of social factors at work that create the condition
of Kakamega. This process entails two opposing ideological forces, traditional thought
and progressive reform, converging in an environmental context of financial stress
and health disadvantages. Early marriage is both at the crux of this process and also
a byproduct of the process. Trapping girls in a nearly inescapable cycle of low educational
attainment and early marriage, the condition of Kakamega is undergoing transformation.
Despite the presence of traditional ideologies and this repressive cycle, women’s
empowerment groups and progressive reformative efforts are palpable signs of hope
and change for gender parity and for the girls of Kakamega, Kenya.