THE GENDER APPROACH TO SOCIAL AND CULTURAL FACTORS OF AGEING AND OLD AGE EXPERIENCE IN KENYA (Published)
The central aim of this paper is to discuss the gender aspects of ageing as a process, and old age experience based on a study of Bungoma District, Kenya. The basic argument is that although ageing is a biological process, its experience is largely dependent on the social and cultural dimensions of the society. The study employed the interview schedule as the key instrument of data collection, supplemented by key informant interviews, observation methods, reviews of secondary data and case study method. The sampling procedures used were both probability and non-probability. The deductive approach to interpretation of data was also used. It emerged that whereas there is a difference in longevity between men and women owing to the variation in life expectancy, other social factors are equally important. These include class ethnicity, caste, eating and working habits and family circumstances. Depending on the stability of the above factors certain similarities and differences in old age experience are evident across the gender line. The study also highlighted how cultural practices influence the gender experience in old age, especially the social practice of avoidance between the parents and their sons-in-law and the daughters-in-law. The issue of widowhood in vividly examined.