At The Nest we are sometimes asked why the project aims to support women (from prison) not males. There are a number of reasons. Justina, who has worked and lived in Western Kenya tries to put the issue into a nutshell:
“Males are not affected by famine and hunger the same way as females. Females, and girls in particular, are more vulnerable to natural disasters, disease, poverty, conflict and every other misfortune that life doles out in developing countries. They have a higher rate of HIV infection, lower levels of education, and fewer opportunities to earn money to support themselves and their families.
This is because in most cultures women and girls do not have the same social status as men. They are not valued as equal members of society. Many men in these cultures will tell you that women are property. They will tell you how many cows you should pay in order to get a wife.
In poor families, girls are passed over for education in favor of boys. Uneducated or poorly-educated females have fewer (no) opportunities to earn money. Without economic power they depend on their husbands for support. If these women do not have husbands or are widowed by disease or war, they’re out of luck. If their husbands are abusive, drunk, unemployed or generally irresponsible, these women have no way to escape their situation. In many cultures a woman is blamed and/or rejected, often by her own family, if she tries to leave an abusive or exploitative marriage.
In many cultures – including Kenya – women do 90% of the work in a household (cooking, cleaning, fetching water, taking care of the kids, often even farming) but has virtually no say in how or when money is spent for the household – or when they get to have sex.
Without social status women do not have a public voice; they are not allowed to enter forums where the exchange of ideas occurs that bring about the changes that benefit them, their families, and their communities.”
The Nest tries to give women the resources to support themselves so that their family may benefit the community as a whole – including men.