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Title: A historical and cultural analysis of the position of Abaluyia women in Kenyan Quaker Christianity, 1902-1979
Author: Mombo, Esther Moraa
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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The thesis begins by analysing how the concept of engoko determined the place and role of women in Abaluyia society. It then examines the American cultural, social and religious context out of which the Friends missionaries came and which invariably shaped their ways of understanding reality and organising their work in Kenya. The arrival of the first Friends missionaries in Kenya in 1902 aimed at raising the spiritual and living standards of the Abaluyia people, especially the women. Their experiences of Abaluyia culture and perceptions of the people is assessed, as well as the move to establish EAYM in 1946. A closer look is taken at the complex and interconnected issues of marriage (especially polygyny) and bride wealth. Missionary inability to grasp the issues involved allowed the Quaker male elders to make policies which often reflected the patriarchal views of Abaluyia society. The thesis also examines the nature of mission work among Abaluyia women, and argues that much of the mission discussion about women was prescriptive, confining the ideal Abaluyia woman to her function as mother and homemaker. The discussion shows how missionaries assumed an ideal universal understanding of womanhood and how this affected Abaluyia women's roles in the church and in the wider society. The way in which Abaluyia women experienced and responded to Quaker Christianity is also assessed especially how they formed separate groups which developed into a Women's Yearly Meeting. From their marginal position women emerged strongly to contribute to the work of a growing church. The thesis then proceeds to discus the place of women in the organisational structure of EAYM. Using the cases of Maria Atiamuga and Keran Nyamusi Alfayo, the thesis argues that women have been sidelined from the leadership to EAYM because it reflects a traditional pattern of clan leadership which is exclusively male. Finally the thesis assesses the role of women in pastoral ministry by discussing the nature of training at Friends Bible Institute (FBI) and the type of ministry open to women. Using Rasoah Mutua, the first woman graduate from FBI, the thesis shows that the traditional Friends championing of spiritual equality for men and women in the church has not been realised in EAYM. The thesis concludes with a reflection on this disparity due to the persistence of engoko, and proposes a rediscovery of a Friends teaching in this respect, and the formulation of a new ethos in accordance with it to replace engoko.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available