Towards gender responsive housing policy, programmes and projects
SEE ALSO :Diversify exports, Kenyans urgedWith regard to access to finance for housing, findings from the Kenya National Housing Survey 2012/13, reveal that commercial banks that reported to have special products for groups were few at 33.3 per cent for women, 32.2 per cent for youth and 30.0 per cent for disabled. It’s a man’s world The perceived demand for special loan products was 57.1 per cent for women, 56.3 per cent for youth and 78.6 per cent for people living with disability. Further, in implementation of housing and construction projects, data revealed dominant male participation and benefits with female workers constituting only 19.1 per cent of skilled workers engaged in the development of housing. The number of females were also much fewer than males in all the Built Environment Professions (BEPs) categories constituting a male to female ratio of 85:15. This signifies the need to adopt a gendered approach in provisioning for affordable housing.
SEE ALSO :Sh720m given for water, roadsLack of access to adequate housing with attendant water, sanitation and energy services disproportionately affects women more than men. This is due to their gender defined reproductive roles in domestic work and child care. It increases the time spent on domestic activities by women and reduces time allocated to productive economic opportunities. According to UNDP 2016, 71 per cent of the burden of collecting water for households falls on women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa. They spend approximately 40 billion hours each year collecting water. In Kenyan rural households, data from the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014 shows that collection of water is done by female’s (56.8 per cent) compared to males (11.8 percent). At the national level, nearly 3 in 10 households (28 per cent) spend 30 minutes or longer to obtain their drinking water. Regarding access to energy data from KIHBS 2015/16 reveals that in aggregate women spend approximately six times more time accessing energy compared to men.
SEE ALSO :Concern over low uptake of scienceEqualiser of sorts Housing and the attendant infrastructure can be a gender “equaliser” and driver of development if properly planned, located, designed and priced. A gendered approach to provision of housing is imperative to achievement of the Big Four Agenda on Affordable Housing. Specifically, a comprehensive gender analysis of home ownership would provide evidence on the housing status of women and men and provide insight on the gender-based constraints to owning a decent home. It would also provide information with regard to affordability of housing to aid in design of special housing finance and mortgage products targeting women, youth and vulnerable groups. Initiatives and policy to enhance girls’ enrolment in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses as well as architectural studies is proposed as one way of enhancing their participation in housing development projects at the artisan or professional level. Gender inequalities in housing can further be resolved by ensuring that housing projects provide access to adequate water, sanitation and energy services. Mr Gachanja is a policy analyst at the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (Kippra)