Objectives of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

3715 words (15 pages) essay in Economics

5/12/16 Economics Reference this

Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work produced by our essay writing service.

You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

the twin objectives of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) are poverty reduction and economic growth based on two broad objectives: to reduce poverty levels in half by the year 2015 and to achieve a ‘Newly Industrialized Country’ status by 2020 (GOK 2001).

The key challenges facing the country at the moment are deteriorating economic performance and high levels of poverty, with more than one half (56% by 2000) of the population living below the poverty line.

Role of participation in PRSPs

..Zuckerman (2002)women, and women’s gender interests, remain marginalised from government decision making; therefore participatory processes provide opportunities for input, and towards inclusion and consideration.

‘Women face particular problems in participating. On little or short notice, women have little or no time to prepare for meetings, but they have the additional problems of arranging home care and safe transport (Bamberger et al. 2001 quoted in Zuckerman,2002)

Link btn PRSPs and national economicc processes

Macroeconomic policies have implications at the micro-level. Similarly, activities at the micro and meso levels have implications at the macro level. There are gender implications involved at both the micro and meso levels. For instance, at the meso level, there is a growing understanding of markets as social institutions, encompassing relationships that embody social values. Often, imbalance of power along gender is one form of social differentiation that shapes such relationships/imbalances (Elson 1993; Baden 1996). Various macroeconomic problems emanate from gender inequalities at the micro and meso levels (Çagatay

Macro-economy and gender

policy makers traditionally see gender as essentially a social issue with little relevance to the macroeconomy (Evers 2001). Consequently, their attempts to incorporate gender perspectives are limited to taking account of women’s needs in social sectors such as social welfare and health. However, Gender is an issue for economic policy and not just for social policy (Evers 2001). Trade, investment, competition and macroeconomic policies are not gender-neutral. They have tremendous implications for women’s employment, poverty, social burden and ultimate societal well-being.

Budget as Gendered aspect

Elson (2002) appropriately puts the whole concept of engendering the budget and

macroeconomic framework into perspective; it is not producing separate budgets for men and women. Engendering the budget involves investigating the policy impact on women and girls as compared to men and boys to establish whether gender gaps are bridged, widened or the status quo maintained by the budget and macroeconomic framework. Clearly, such an analysis can only be done after a country’s gender analysis has been undertaken to bring out such gaps and identify the relevant policy actions to bridge the gaps.

Gender inequality often manifests itself in the form of differential access to resources and opportunities (UNDP 2001).

the analysis undertaken in this study clearly indicates that there are gender gaps

in virtually all the core dimensions of poverty-opportunities, capabilities, empowerment and security. It is also clear that poor women are worse off than their male counterparts in virtually all dimensions of poverty. This is worsened by widespread regional disparities.

Although the PRSP acknowledges some of the gaps, the PRSP sectors do not adequately identify key priority areas and policies that could help reduce the gaps. In most cases, women and men are treated homogeneously, without taking into consideration the gender-specific impacts.

Taxes, Inclusion of gender (pro-poor)

The PRSP is a rich source of the programs that would make a difference in women’s lives. In taxation, exemption of basic services has been achieved but this is not enough. There is need to earmark revenue to be reinvested in areas that increase female productivity and therefore increase women’s participation in the productive sectors of the economy. This kind of targeting would help alleviate the deflationary bias that transfers responsibility from the government to women.

-A tax structure with income distribution rationale would tax the products used by the high-income group at a higher rate( This is envisaged)

For successful gender mainstreaming, there is need for citizen participation in the macroeconomic policies and formulation of macroeconomic

majority of Kenyans including women are not aware of the importance of national budgets and the budgetary process and therefore the preparation of the budget is mainly limited to a clique of people whose composition is male-dominated. There is need to build capacity within government on gender-based budgets and empower women’s participation in the budgetary process.

, the policy framework fails to recognize the importance of the care economy, whose activities also affect the efficiency in the productive sector of the economy. The policies are not gender neutral but rather tend to perpetuate gender gaps in an economy where the majority live below the poverty line. There is clearly a need to modify the standard macroeconomic models, which are based on efficient markets, which do not exist in reality, particularly in less developed economies. It is also evident that there are intra-gender differences, women are not a homogenous group and while one policy might benefit one group, it can increase the gaps in another

it is difficult to build a case for gender mainstreaming without appropriate tools to show expected outcomes as a result of addressing gender inequality.

Kenya needs to pursue a policy for gender mainstreaming by building a comprehensive gender database

Gender Mapping

Mapping gender across the socio-economic groups in Kenya, t is necessary to have a clear picture of the productive activities women are engaged in.

Disaggregate labour value added into male and female labour and by level of skill.

2.1.1 Institutional and legal framework

The traditional macroeconomic analysis takes the legal and institutional structure of the economy as given, therefore being gender-blind rather than gender-neutral. It fails to take into account male biases in labour market legislation, property rights and ownership and inheritance laws, yet these restrict and shape the economic activity of women (Çagatay 1998).

Being socially constructed institutions, ‘free markets’ also reflect and reinforce gender inequalities (Grown 1995; Çagatay 1998).

Moreover, due to social customs and norms that assign women the exclusive responsibility for physical and social reproduction, women enter paid work in the labour force in a disadvantaged position, even in the absence of legal restrictions and “pure” discrimination. Women therefore tend to crowd in low-pay and low-skill jobs where high turnover does not matter as much or in work that does not clash with their reproductive responsibilities (Çagatay 1998). Indeed, as observed elsewhere in this paper, privatisation goes hand in hand with downsizing and retrenchment where the lower cadre staff, majority of whom are women, further exit the formal labour market.

2.1.2 The invisible women’s work and the ‘reproductive’ sector or care economy

(SAPs) led to cuts in social services directly related to women’s roles as mothers, housekeepers and care providers, therefore intensifying women’s reproductive work (Çagatay 1998).

Invisibility of unpaid domestic labour may hide increased inefficiency. The unpaid care economy contributes to the welfare of individuals receiving care and contributes to the activities of both the productive or market economy by supplying human resources (human capital) and maintaining the social framework (social capital) (ECA 2002). As a result of inadequate maintenance of human resources and the investment in the social framework, an overburdened care economy impacts negatively on the productive economy, reducing its productivity and increasing the costs. The care economy produces family and community-oriented goods and services. Basic subsistence and the care economy is sustained mostly by female human power (including girls), yet they lack equal access to opportunities for improvement.

By ignoring the care economy, macro-economic policies assume women’s time is available in unlimited supply-that is the supply is perfectly elastic. This mistaken view is rooted in the conventional macroeconomic theory that treats the care economy as a sector that can supply whatever is required without the need for investment (ECA 2002). This partly explains the neglect of the sector in budgetary allocations in the PRSP.

A lot of women’s work is not accounted for by the national economic statistics since a

great deal of women’s work does not take place in large market-oriented formal sector establishments. The cost of reproducing and maintaining the labour force in a given society remains invisible as long as the scope of economic activity does not include ‘reproductive’ labour. Unpaid work needs to be made visible and the economic work redefined to include unpaid reproductive labour (Çagatay, 1998).

The neglect of this crucial sector is echoed in the post-liberalization policy reforms, which focuses on increasing efficiency in the private sector with over-emphasis on private sector-led growth. Public agencies are perceived as inefficient and have to be privatized/commercialized to the extent that they do not operate at the same level of efficiency as the private sector. This arises from ignorance of the service needs of the care economy, the neglect of which adversely affects women’s productivity.

2.1.3 Engendered economic behaviour

Gender relations play a crucial role in the division of labour, distribution of work, income, wealth and production (techniques) with important macroeconomic implications (Çagatay 1998). Based on the so-called ‘good-mother’ thesis, evidence from a diverse group of countries shows gender differences in the savings and consumption expenditure patterns. Women tend to spend more on children and household needs, while men’s expenditures tend to be skewed towards leisure commodities (e.g. alcohol, tobacco, gambling) and goods that are status symbols (Çagatay 1998). Expenditure on women therefore enhances capabilities that are directly productive. Gender inequalities in the distribution of income and wealth coupled with male biases in the legal and institutional structure of the economy are likely to have a significant impact on the functioning and outcomes of the macro-economy (Çagatay 1998).

Çagatay (ibid) further argues that structural adjustment programmes and free market policies could lead to ‘forced savings’ in a bid to extract sufficient aggregate savings to close the savings gap at the macroeconomic level. This depends largely on the reproductive economy’s ability to increase the magnitude and intensity of unpaid work. There is diverse evidence that shows that gender biases and inequalities in the labour market, access to credit, and in the distribution of wealth and income and decision-making affects the effectiveness and productive use of resources (Çagatay 1998).

Although the causes and outcomes of poverty are gender-specific and diverse, the traditional conceptualisation of poverty tends to concentrate more on income poverty as a measure; therefore ignoring other dimensions that exhibit immense gender disparities. It has been acknowledged that poverty is multidimensional, encompassing not only low incomes and consumption but also low achievement in education, health, nutrition, asset acquisition and ownership, as well as other forms of human development. There are notably four types of poverty as identified in the poverty discourse (see World Development Report 2000/2001).

3.1 Opportunity

The Human Development Report for Kenya 2001 indicates that women in Kenya women are more likely to be unemployed than men and even when they are employed, they earn less than men on average. Women are mainly found in the rural and informal sectors of the economy and other low-income occupations such as basket weaving and dress making.

Lack of opportunity is typified by lack of access to labour markets, employment opportunities and lack of access to productive resources. In the formal labour market in Kenya, women constitute only 29% of total labour force (Chart 2). Furthermore, approximately 70% of these women are in the lower income bracket of Kshs 8, 000 to Kshs 25,000 (US $103-321) per month. Only 20% of the women-or 6% of the total -earn above Kshs 25,000. The majority of women employed in the modern sector (about 58%) work in the service industry. Further analysis also shows that even in the service industry, especially in the public sector, it is ‘men heavy’ at the top, whereas women occupy the lower cadres.

According to Manda (2002), women employment in Kenya is still characterized by low productivity, low pay and long hours of work. This is partly due to disproportionate high amount of time spent on unpaid work and inadequate access to economic opportunities

women form the majority of employees in export processing zones

(EPZ), especially in garment production (Manda 2002). However, as Manda points out, jobs in the EPZ are not as good as those in the formal or public sector. For example, the labour law does not impose the minimum wage on EPZ. Thus, lax labour laws, lack of government supervision and exemption from labour regulations/unionisation make jobs in the EPZ less secure than formal sector jobs and lead to poor working conditions (Manda 2002). Poor pay, working over time without commensurate compensation and cases of sexual harassment have also been cited. Although, the potential for this sector to provide more opportunities for more women as a way of escaping from poverty can be explored, better incentives and working conditions have to be taken into consideration.

Additionally, women being ‘time poor’ also exacerbate their lack of opportunity. This is another dimension that is uniquely experienced by women. The dual roles in the ‘care’ or ‘reproductive economy’, which is female-intensive, and the participation in the formal labour markets puts a strain on women’s time. . Studies indicate that women in Kenya work 50% more than men. When agricultural and non-agricultural tasks are put together, women work for 12.9 hours compared to 8.2 hours for men, yet they earn less than men because most hours are not paid for (Saito et al., 1994). The range of activities women have to perform on and off the farm is very broad.

According to Saito et al. (1992), female-headed households own less than half the farming equipment than male-headed households. Another study by Quisumbing (1996) as quoted by the World Bank (2001), indicates that in Kenya, increasing the education and input levels for female farmers to those of male farmers could yield by as much as 22% more output. This further reinforces the fact that gender inequality limits economic growth.

The highest differential is in incomes as measured byGDP per capita where nationally women earn 33% less than men on average.

The lower returns in the rural areas can intuitively be linked to insecure tenure rights where women can cultivate the land but they do not own it and have limited access to inputs such as credit and fertilizers.

Integrating Gender in Economic Models

by demonstrating the potential effectiveness of gender-aware policies to the policymakers and by simulating the effects of macroeconomic policies by gender

no deliberate and conscious effort in mainstreaming gender in the budget to the extent that would make all ministries feel obliged to take aboard the responsibility of disaggregating and addressing gender gaps identified in sector consultations and the PRSP process.


The budgetary process is a centralized system with limited public participation. In terms of gender, it is male-dominated with limited capacity to comprehend and incorporate gender, especially at the middle and higher levels of decision-making.

Budget Deficit-SAPS (stabilisation)

Though these stabilization measurers are desirable and can be growth promoting in the long-run, in the short-run they increase the vulnerability of some socio-economic groups, especially women. Indeed, if other economic fundamentals are not in place, even the growth envisaged through stabilization can be elusive.

5.1.4 Privatisation

Privatisation has been pursued in Kenya since the onset of economic reforms in the early 1990s. The policy is an offshoot of high deficit and inefficiency in the running of the enterprises. The concept is based on market efficiency and value for money. The emphasis is on market economy but in the process, overlooks those who operate outside the formal markets and can alienate them further from these markets. Also, they tend to ignore the complexities of power structures and gender relations, especially in regard to access, control and ownership of productive resources. This is certainly the case for women. As stated in section three of this paper, some of the gender gaps can be attributed to market failures and therefore over-emphasis on market perfection and privatisation can widen gender gaps.

Export promotion drives for instance, focus on high foreign exchange earnings from some export sectors like horticulture and manufacturing in EPZ, but overlook the hardships that women have to endure in these labour-intensive

Cut Backs

When expenditure on healthcare is reduced, women have to allocate more time away from the productive sector to take care of the sick, not to mention their own health that gets into a more precarious position when reproductive health services decline.

The combination of low taxation and low budget deficits focuses on the retirement of domestic debt as a means of creating an enabling environment for the private sector.

While desirable on several grounds, the policy is not gender neutral but rather increases the gender gaps observed elsewhere in this paper. The over-emphasis on a market economy obscures the hidden inefficiencies, particularly in the care economy. The policies transfer the burden of the care economy from the government to women. If gender gaps have to be narrowed, some of the policies outlined in the fiscal strategy need to be redesigned to take into account the needs of the care economy where the creation and maintenance of the social capital, which complements the private sector, takes place. All the macro targets and priorities have gender implications. For instance, delivery of higher economic growth by the private sector is also determined by provision of social capital by the care economy. Reduction in the share of government expenditures could improve the status of women more if targeted at social spending for example in maternal and childcare.

Reduction and/ re-alignment of public expenditure also has implications on women’s time poverty or burden, depending on the programs that are funded or cut back from public spending.


Most indicators show low empowerment status for women. All the sectors can in one way or another improve women’s economic empowerment. (Ie in political representation)

IT sector

The information technology sector has a potential role in empowering women, yet very little in the PRSP addresses the impact of IT on gender.

Technology would be able to improve the skills of women to strategically position themselves in the global environment. Improving women’s access to technology also requires access to education opportunities



In general, the sectoral priorities as reflected in the PSRP grossly ignore gender relations despite the fact that some of the gender imbalances are acknowledged in the document. Therefore, there is a weak linkage between the sectors and how sectoral policies address the gender disparities in relation to the core dimensions of poverty-capability, opportunity, empowerment and security.

Kiringai et al.(2002) Special efforts are needed to empower women to make them less vulnerable.

Constraints, however, include lack of gender-disaggregated analysis, except for the fields of basic education and some areas of healthcare. In addition, gender specific targets for defining improvements in the economic, social and legal situation are still lacking. The macroeconomic framework that forms the core of the Economic Recovery Strategy is still analyzed in gender neutral terms.

Derbyshire (2002a), evaluating Oxfam PRSP work in Uganda, noted a ‘significant “policy evaporation” in all contexts, as the implementation and impacts of PRSPs fail to reflect government commitments to gender equality’, and explains that the main reason why the PRSPs have not integrated gender issues effectively is due to the widespread fallacious stakeholder assumptions that engendered participatory processes would flow into the PRSPs.

..Zuckerman ( 2002, p90) notes that ‘The important gender themes addressed by PRSPs tend to be mentioned in isolated, free standing paragraphs or sentences. But most fail to mainstream gender by applying a GAD approach, which analyses inequalities between males and females and proposes programmes to eliminate these inequalities’.

Indeed Bamberger et al., (2001) observe that if the right questions are not asked, even research cannot provide the right answers.

No commitment, nor clear gender roles in monitoring and evaluation of engendered programs and activities. The danger in this is that, milestones failed to be made in mitigating some of the inequalities in gender terms cannot be reported, therefore continued invisibilisation of women in society

Narayan et al (2000) ‘an understanding of institutions is important in any project attempting to understand poverty, because institutions affect people’s opportunities by establishing and maintaining their access to social, material and natural resources. They also reinforce capabilities for collective action and self-help, while their absence can contribute to immobilization and inertia.'(p9) In so doing institutions are critical to poor people’s security and empowerment, by ensuring protection from vulnerability to economic shocks and risks, among other risks, or failing to do so.

A major challenge to Kenya’s PRSP is failure to consider power dynamics (which have powerful influence over division of labour and distribution of resources) within the family/household by treating it a politically neutral or consensual unit. This may mask serious individual vulnerabilities, and lead to misallocation of resources intended to cushion against risks and actual shocks, and thus prove counterproductive. For example employing the male breadwinner model to allocate resources assumes that the household stands to benefit, whereas other priorities other than the targeted ones may prevail.


Since the idea of equity is central to the poverty reduction initiatives as indicated in

the PRSP, gender equality should also be central to the PRSP. Without women’s

empowerment and advancement through promotion of gender equality, poverty cannot be

reduced (UNDP 1998). Similarly, it is difficult if not impossible to reduce poverty without addressing the gender imbalances reflected in the different dimensions of poverty. This calls for the incorporation of gender in the formulation of policies at the macro and sectoral levels, expenditure allocations as well as monitoring and evaluation.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Content

Featured review

Reviews.co.uk logo

“Thank you UK Essays for your timely assistance. It has helped me to push forward with my thesis.”

Tajeram M

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have the essay published on the UK Essays website then please.

McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams Prices from

Undergraduate 2:2 • 1,000 words • 7 day delivery

Learn More Order now

Delivered on-time or your money back

Each order includes
  • A fully qualified writer in your subject
  • 100% confidentiality, the work is never re-sold or published
  • Standard 7-day amendment period
  • A paper written to the standard ordered
  • A detailed plagiarism report
  • A comprehensive quality report
Rated 4.5 out of 5 by
Reviews.co.uk Logo (61 Reviews)

Our Services

We have a range of academic services including essay writing, full and part dissertation writing, and our ever popular marking and proofreading service.

You can view our full service portfolio here

UK Essays can show you how to write great academic work with our 4.4 star rated services

Reviews.co.uk Logo
Place an order or Learn about our services