Are Kenya men losing gender war?

By Gatonye Gathura

More men than women were born last year according to data in the 2020 Economic Survey released last month.

For every 100 registered female births, there were three more men and this actually was a significant drop since 2015.

Apart from 2016 when 104 men were born against every 100 women, there were five more men to every 100 women in the rest of the years.

This means five more men than women in every100 were born in 2015, 2017, and 2018. However, the whole ratio remained within the global average.

So theoretically it may mean that each of the women born in Kenya is assured of a male life partner with a few men to spare.

This seems to challenge the widely held but unsubstantiated speculation that there are more women than men in Kenya.

A closer look into the data released by Yakur Yattani, the Treasury Chief, also shows the cruel hand of death snatched away more men than were born during the period.

For every 100 registered deaths of females, there were 25 more men who died last year. Also, a higher number of men died than women in 2019 compared to the previous three years.  

The survey recorded a significantly higher registration of male deaths than women in 2019. Registered male deaths accounted for 55.6 per cent, yielding a death registration sex ratio of 125 males per 100 females.

“This sex ratio may be attributed to a higher likelihood of deaths to males being registered due to possible incentive of property inheritance,” says the survey.

But even away from matters of birth and death, the boy child continued to experience hard times. For example, the number of crimes committed by males increased in 2019 while female committed crimes went down.

“The number of male offenders rose by 10.3 per cent while that of females declined by 1.5 per cent in the review period,” says the annual document.

In all counties, apart from Kiambu, Nairobi, and Meru, there were less than 1,000 crimes committed by women.

Samburu County had the lowest female committed crimes at 17 and also for males at 126. Other counties which recorded low women committed crimes included Mandera, Kwale, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, and Kitui at less than 100.

Of a whole list of crimes, the boy child outdid the girls by a huge margin with the latter having the upper hand in just a few crimes.

This included infanticide, procuring an abortion where 45 women were accused against seven men. Four males were accused of concealing a birth against 54 women.

A number of women were accused of committing crimes against morality such as rape, defilement, incest, sodomy, and bigamy but even in these men had the bigger share.

Of course many more men than women were put in jail in 2019 and were put away for a much longer period than females.

 Majority of women went in for two years or less with only four on life imprisonments and five on death sentence compared to hundreds of men. Last year 504 men were put on life imprisonment and 114 sentenced to die.

Last year, 131 boys in blue committed crimes compared to 48 policewomen. During the five year period, 107 boys aged under 16 were in jail compared to only 13 girls of the same age.

In three years from 2017 to 2019, there were more abandoned, disputed paternity, parental abducted, trafficked, truants, and refugee boys than girls.

But more girls than boys were involved in child marriage at the late of 34 to 622 last year, child pregnancy, FGM, incest, and sexual exploitation. However, more boys than girls experienced sodomy last year.

During the period more neglected girls than boys were adopted or sent to school though a few more males received child support than females.

Even at old age the boy child, the report shows is still likely to suffer than women. In 2018/19 some 487,289 women benefitted from the elderly persons’ cash transfer programme compared to 310,122 men.

Similarly this year 467,265 women will benefit from the programme compared to 297,379 males. While the report does not explain the discrepancy, women are known to outlive men hence there are more females at older ages in Kenya compared to males.

But when it comes to real political and administrative power, from the highest executive to the level of sub-chiefs, the jewel is taken by the boy child.

The survey shows from the Presidency, cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, diplomatic corps, county commissioners to chiefs, women take less than a third.

Only in Chief Administrative Secretaries and assistant county commissioners does the girl child takes at least a third of the posts.

A similar trend is reflected in the top leadership of counties including governorship, their deputies as well as in the national Parliament and The Senate. Only in county assemblies are women slightly more than a third,

Lamu and Nyamira counties had the highest percentage of women Members of County Assembly at 38.9 per cent. Nandi County had the lowest women representation in the County Assembly at 23.5 per cent followed by Marsabit County at 26.7 per cent. Nine counties did not meet the minimum one-third gender requirement.

The Judiciary, however, outdid the rest of government in gender balancing with more female magistrates than males and about 49 per cent of High Court judges being women.

Thirty seven per cent of Court of Appeal judges were female and almost a third at the Supreme Court.

 But the battle of sexes, the survey shows to be most intense in academic institutions with girls giving as much as they are taking from the boys.

Last year there were as many women as men granted research licenses with 149 males to 122 females in Earth and Space Sciences with females rising fast.

The five-year data shows women rising fast in scientific research which may be cause for the boy child to look over his shoulder.

About Gatonye Gathura 32 Articles
Science Journalist

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