Silence as power: women bargaining with patriarchy in Kenya

Document Type


Publication details

Gatwiri, GJ & Mumbi, KA 2016, 'Silence as power: women bargaining with patriarchy in Kenya', Social Alternatives, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 13-18.

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This paper is an exploration of some forms of silent protest used by Kenyan women to bargain with patriarchy. The paper draws in part from an on-going study by the first author and also from existing materials, to elucidate the varied uses of silence as power by Kenyan women to counteract patriarchal dominance and oppression. While acknowledging that silence can be disempowering in the face of oppression, the paper holds that silence can also act as a space of fluid and profound empowering possibilities for women living in oppressive situations. An attempt is made to show how such women mutably employ silence to shift power in their interpersonal relationships. The paper, however, strongly underscores the growing need for research on the subject of silence as a tool of power in feminist discourses.

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