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Abigael Mwende Malelu - Master’s of Arts in Gender and Development Studies, Kenyatta University, Kenya

Dr. Grace Wamue Ngare - Lecturer, Department of Gender and Development Studies, Kenyatta University, Kenya

Dr. Pacificah Okemwa - Lecturer, Department of Gender and Development Studies, Kenyatta University, Kenya


This study examined the institutional factors militating against career advancement of women faculty: A case of Kenyatta University. The study was based on the premise that there are some hidden institutional challenges slowing career progress of women faculty. This exists despite the many attempts by universities to implement government calls to gender equality and equity. The promotion criteria at the universities is said to provide equal opportunities to women and men, yet the former are unable to comply with it. The study, therefore, set out, to analyze KU policies and practices governing promotion, as well as, suggest strategies of enhancing women upward career growth. The study was guided by Socialist Feminist Theory and Gender and Development approach. The study targeted all women faculty employed in KU on full time basis. Stratified random sampling in combination with purposive sampling was used and total of 104 respondents took part in the study. Two senior administrators and members of promotion and appraisal committee served as key informants. Primary data was collected through semi-structured questionnaires and interview guides. Secondary data were obtained from policies governing promotion and appraisal. Qualitative data was analyzed into themes, while quantitative was organized into frequency counts and percentages. The research found that career advancement of women faculty at the upper ranks is slow and that they are faced with several challenges such as a busy university schedule, vast institutional physical set-up, biasness in the promotion criteria and in minimal leadership experience, as well as financial and time constrains. Women faculty lacked adequate opportunities to network and gain recognition, they also lacked mentors and faced a lot of negative office politics. To address these challenges the study recommends the following measures: provision of scholarships for studying and research, introduction of flexible working schedule, capacity building, affordability of university press and journal, transport and child care services as well as accommodation facilities within the institution. Gender sensitization of all stake holders, enforcement of affirmative action and reviewing of the promotion and appraisal criteria is also needed. The institution should embark on employing more teaching staff and facilitate pairing women faculty with mentors, as well as, imparting them with skills on  time and stress management. This will go a long way in enhancing the career growth of women faculty in Kenyatta University.

Full Length Research (PDF Format)