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PROJECT TOPIC: GENDER ANALYSIS OF LITERATURE SET BOOKS: A STUDY OF SELECTED KENYA CERTIFICATE OF SECONDARY EDUCATION (KCSE) LITERATURE TEXTS.

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CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION Background to the study

The debate on gender equality, stereotyping, bias, gender responsiveness and other related gender concepts has been ongoing in Kenya. Several pressure groups, especially those working with Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and the Convention of Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), have been calling for gender equality in general and for an education system that addresses gender equality and gender responsiveness especially in regard to set books that are used in our schools.

Since Kenya attained independence in 1963, several efforts have been made to show the country‟s   commitment   to   the   principle   of   human   equality.   Kenya   subscribes   to international bodies such as the United Nations (UN), implying that it is committed to adhere to the UN Charter Declaration of Human Rights (1948). Kenya has also participated in several international conferences (World Women Conferences in Mexico (1975), Copenhagen (1980), Nairobi (1985) and Beijing (1995) concerned with gender equality which binds it to implement their declarations. One of the issues discussed in those conferences and which is significant to this study was gender equality in relation to set books and other curriculum materials used in schools. Closer to home, there have been numerous calls for a gender responsive curriculum at all levels of education in Kenya.In an effort to reverse the process of female gender marginalization, the United Nations (UN), adopted the Convention of Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1979. According to the UN, CEDAW defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination. The office of UN High Commissioner on human rights notes that Kenya ratified CEDAW in 1984. The Convention resolved, among other resolutions, that “any stereotyping concept of the roles of men and women at all levels and in all forms of education should be eliminated, in particular, by revision of set books and school programs” (UN, 1979).


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