In southeastern Kenya, a girl gets betrothed once she is born. It is the duty of the father of the girl to choose who best suits his daughter.
When the groom is selected, the father of the new groom ties a daraaraa as a sign. Despite the death of her parents, no man can marry her except the chosen one.
Child marriage is driven by gender inequality and the belief that girls are somehow inferior to boys. 23% of Kenyan girls are married before their 18th birthday and 4% are married before the age of 15.
According to UNICEF, Kenya has the 20th highest absolute number of child brides in the world
The plan reports that Kenyan girls who drop out of school for any reason are more likely to end up married. Some parents reportedly withdraw girls from school and marry them off as soon as they menstruate.
Marriage is seen to offer the ultimate protection from male s*xual attention.
Once married, the girl would be incorporated into her husband’s family and her labour would be under the control of her husband’s parents, especially her mother-in-law. She would also worship the ancestors of her husband’s family and not those of her own parents.
Her behaviour would also be closely watched lest she disgraces her in-laws. Her children are also members of her husband’s kin group and not
The difference in the social attitude towards male and female children arises from considering them in relation to the future of the lineage to which they belong. A male child is looked upon as a dynamic element in the linear structure.
On the other hand, a female child, though a potential source of wealth, is regarded as an exporter of fertility from her parents’ lineage to the lineage of her husband.
Thus, if she becomes the mother of many children, her larger numbers are looked upon with disfavour as taking something away from her original family. This results in a superstitious feeling which affects her visits to the pa
Although a larger number of males would normally be preferred, a family of exclusively male children is regarded as a disadvantage because of the economic burden incurred when the sons want to marry.
But when a father has only female children, his position is considered as ‘dead’, for a family is only considered as living when there are male members to perpetuate the line.