This book, first published in 1991, examines the effect of government policies and social restrictions on the reproductive behaviour and family life of the women of Kenya, especially the Kikuyu people. Importation of techniques for social and behavioural regulation from the developed nations, the social restructuring that followed the colonial intervention, the Mau Mau uprisings and current widespread concern with AIDS have disrupted traditional influences on Kenyan reproductive behaviour and family life. In response to these changes, women mobilised into a movement comprised of small local women’s groups scattered throughout Kenya that attempt to educate and influence both its members and government policy. The successes and failures of this movement offer important lessons for the rest of Africa and the developing world.

part One|56 pages

The Setting of the Study and Problem Formulation

chapter Chapter 1|9 pages


chapter Chapter 2|20 pages

The Study Area and Methods of the Study

chapter Chapter 3|25 pages

The Conceptual Framework of the Study

part Two|44 pages

The Restructuring of Kikuyu Social Organization

chapter Chapter 4|13 pages

Pre-Colonial Kikuyu Social Organization

chapter Chapter 5|22 pages

The Situation During the Colonial Period

chapter Chapter 6|7 pages

The Post-Colonial Women's Collective Activities

part Three|88 pages

Patterns and Dynamics of Contemporary Women's Groups

chapter Chapter 7|16 pages

The Interaction Patterns of Women's Groups

chapter Chapter 9|39 pages

The Activities of Women's Groups

chapter Chapter 10|16 pages

Summary and Conclusions: Women's Groups in Transition

part Four|37 pages

Policy and Programme Implication for Africa