Ten out of every 100 women in Kenya elbow their way into marriage with a pregnancy.
This is according to new research on marriages that has revealed that many women are marrying while pregnant.
The Research carried out in Nairobi by African Population Health Research Centre (APHRC), University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Michigan (both from the US) and Population Council-Kenya added that as high as 87 per cent of men and 72 per cent of women aged 25 to 34 in Kenya are in informal unions.
The researchers studied how young people in Nairobi are making sense of marriage amidst an unprecedented unemployment crisis in the country. Almost a quarter (22 per cent) of young women in Kenya, the study says, are getting their first child out of wedlock.
According to its findings published in the Sunday Standard, of the 30 study countries, Kenya was among the top 10 with highest number of women giving first birth out of wedlock.
The research also shows that today many young men in Nairobi are delaying marriage until they have an assured source of income to care for a wife and children. On the other hand, women are scouring for an income as security to marry, who and when they want or not marry at all.
Despite a lot of talk about both gender bringing something to the table, the new study shows less harmony on the take away from the same table.
“No woman in our study spoke about the importance of financially assisting or “feeding” husbands in the way that men spoke about supporting wives,” says the study.
One coping mechanism, the report says is delaying marriage for both sexes in favour for non-marital unions such as ‘come we stay’ arrangements.
“Many men also are not willing to care of children not from their own loins while unwed mothers may be seen to have lost some market value compared to their childless peers,” says the study.
But the Nairobi study says city women, marriage is no longer a matter of life and death.
“With their increasing participation in paid employment, Nairobi women are now able to be household breadwinners and to look after their children without marriage.”
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