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Poverty and Cultural barriers

The number one barrier to education among Kenyan girls is poverty: Poverty for women in Kenya is related to a lack of economic opportunity and independence; limited access to economic resources and participation in decision-making processes; high costs of education; inadequate nutrition; lack of adequate schooling facilities; and finally, the perceived low value of education by parents and the community.

Cultural attitudes and practices like early marriage and teen pregnancies; the payment of bride-price; sexually transmitted infections; male gender-biased educational systems; traditional gender roles and family status; the division of labour at home; child exploitation into a sex trade; and the lack physical and psychological security of the female all greatly impact the inability of girls in Kenya to improve their lives. Early marriage is a key trend that hinders the improvement of the economic standing of women, where estimates are that 42% of girls marry before the age of 18 in Africa (Palermo and Peterman). Additionally, to highlight the current inequitable access to education between the genders, the literacy rate for Kenyan women is 40% compared to 69% for men.

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