Violence Against Women and Girls in Kenya: Roles of Religion

Author: Crystal Corman

August 29, 2016

Despite significant progress for Kenyan women towards equal rights, widespread gender-based violence, of several sorts, is a serious and persistent problem. This brief examines the roles of religion in and engagement of religious actors on issues including violence against women and girls (VAWG), sexual violence during conflict, female circumcision, early marriage, and transactional sex. Religious beliefs play major roles both in perpetuating female circumcision and efforts to end it, with multiple faith-inspired actors working at the community level. Religious leaders and communities, however remain largely silent on VAWG, with the few existing efforts lacking momentum or urgency. Moving the needle to change attitudes and behavior requires a serious critique of unequal gender norms, often shaped and reinforced by religious teachings, that can be matched with concrete actions and dedicated resources.

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