The influence of patriarchy on women's sexual and reproductive health rights in Kawangware Division, Nairobi County

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This study aimed to explore the influence of patriarchy on the realization of women's sexual and reproductive health rights and its contribution to HIV prevalence among married women in Kawangware Division of Nairobi Country. The study sought to examine patriarchal hindrances, to determine the effect of patriarchal systems and practices HIV/AIDS prevalence, and to establish the relationship between patriarchy, realization of women SRHRs and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among married women. The study was confined to married men and women living in Kawangware location of Nairobi County. The research targeted 60 respondents who lived in this location at the time of study. The study employed a cross-sectional descriptive design. Purposive quota sampling was used to select the study subjects. Primary and secondary methods of data collection were used to gather both quantitative and qualitative data. The survey was the main method of data collection. Additional information was collected using key informant interviews. Documentary materials provided secondary data. The study found that whereas decision-making within the household is done jointly, decision on contraceptive method of choice is made by the woman whereas whether to or not to use condom remains the preserve of men. Women are in a position to decide whether to have sex with the husband, however reasons given for this are mainly due to medical or biological reasons linked to pregnancy, childbirth and menstruation. This in itself indicates the overbearing attitude of men and societal expectation of the women on matters of sexuality. The study findings confirm that even in this day and age, sex within marriage is still being used as a weapon to punish or reward faithfulness. To ensure continued financial support, women continue to give in to sex despite the husbands' unfaithfulness. The results also demonstrate the existing belief system that once married, a man has the right to have sex with his wife regardless of the circumstances. This study concludes that there exist hindrances to women's SRHRs due to the current structure of our society that deprives men and women a level playing field in decision making on sexuality matters. As a result, marriage relationships expose women to HIV/AIDS

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