Being a single mother with a son is a liability in Kenya for women wishing to get married.
Catherine Waruguru, the Laikipia Woman Rep (pictured) has decried the situation in which the boy child is an impediment to the mother.
For men in Central Kenya, it all has to do with property and inheritance as sons are always the heir apparent despite laws having changed to include girls.
Waruguru, who has previously proudly declared that she is a second wife, explained that, “Every young girl who is single and has a son anakaa ni kama kupata bwana ni shida kwa sababu mnafikiria ni shamba anataka (single women find it hard to get married because people always assume they are after the man’s land),” Waruguru told her audience during a prize-giving ceremony at Mugumo Primary School in Laikipia East.
Waruguru weighed in on the issue of over playing the welfare of the girl child at the expense of the boy child who has become a challenge. She says that matters are made worse by the rising number of independent single women.
“Watoto wetu vijana ata sijui kunaendaje hata mbegu ya kijana imekua kidogo, ukienda maternity wale wengi ni wasichana (I don’t know where the boy child is headed to as fewer and fewer boys are being born.
The maternity wards are just full of new-born girls),” she said, adding that the Church and society need to advocate for the boy child since a society without respectable and intelligent men cannot steer development agendas.
“This conversation will start right from our homes, to our schools and to our churches. It is our business to talk about the welfare of our boy child,” she insisted.
An informal survey conducted by The Nairobian over 10 months ago revealed that men don’t mind marrying single mothers, provided they had a girl who was below the age of five years.
Sociologist Gordon Olala of Kisii University (Migori Campus), explained at the time that modernity has softened cultural bias against single women since “we live in a society where single mothers are so many that it has become hard to ignore them and hence, men seeking marriage are most likely to get a woman with a child” and that they “appeal to men because they are perceived as hard-working and have already proven their fertility.”
Paul Opondo, an anthropologist at the University of Nairobi, noted at the time that the aversion to boys has to do with land and family property since “illegitimate children are a problem during inheritance, especially in patriarchal communities even though a lot has changed with couples marrying when much older and older men are much more accommodating to single mothers.”