Baseline survey on violation of women labour rights in the horticulture sector in Kenya

Women working in the agricultural sector in Kenya remain a marginalized population despite their large numbers. This has been attributed to poor implementation of existing laws and policies coupled with low legal awareness of labour rights among women. This situation has led to gross gender based inequities and inequalities against women labourers. The biases include; women receiving less pay than men for equal work done, discriminative hiring practices that result to women being concentrated in the lower job groups, lack of job security for women workers, lack of paid maternity leave, and pregnant women being expected to perform the same labour intensive work as their male counterparts.

In response to the highlighted challenges, FIDA Kenya, with funding from Hivos, is currently implementing a project dabbed Advocacy for State Accountability for Corporate Violations in the Horticulture Sector in Kenya. The project seeks to lobby duty bearers and stakeholders (both at the county and national level) for better implementation of the existing labour laws and policies in Kenya. This will also build the duty bearers’ capacity to monitor the implementation of the law and policies. As a foundation to the project, FIDA Kenya in partnership with Hivos conducted this baseline survey to investigate compliance with women labour rights in the horticulture sector. The findings of the survey confirmed that various horticulture employers continue to violate women labour rights. For instance, several women lose employment upon getting pregnant and still exposed to unequal pay. The findings of this survey will guide and provide a reference point for assessing the progress made.