A Historical Overview of the Representation of Female Characters in Children’s Fiction in Kenya

Dr. Muriungi, C. K

Abstract

Since independence, the Kenyan nation has undergone changes, which are a result of the various Developments in the country. Within the premise that literature often mirrors the society, this paper examines the representation of female characters in Kenyan children’s literature in selected texts published between the late 1960s and 2008. The analysis done is to determine whether the new spaces and signifiers of development available in the Kenyan nation, like learning institutions and upcoming urban centers, allow women any possible avenues to reinvent and liberate themselves from the traditional patriarchal space which accorded them subordinate roles. The findings demonstrate that despite the increased range of opportunities available to both sexes, gender role stereotypes are still prevalent in the Kenyan society and they still produce negative connotations. More campaigns on women empowerment are therefore needed which will in turn produce children’s books that portray balanced gender roles.

Key words: Kenya, children’s fiction, female characters, representation, empowerment.

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