This study sought to establish the status of men and women in the entrepreneurial fisheries activities in Kenya. The study focused specifically in Nairobi City County, and was guided by the following objectives, namely; to map out specific areas within fisheries value chain that men and women participate in; to identify socio-economic factors that influence participation of men and women, to assess the socio-cultural factors that determine participation of men and women in those specific ventures within fisheries value chains; to identify institutional factors that influence participation of men and women entrepreneurs; and to establish the strategies to enhance equal and effective participation of men and women entrepreneurs in fisheries value chain. The social structural theory developed by Connell (1987) guided the study; the women economic empowerment framework advanced by Longwe (1995) provided bench marks for enhancing women empowerment on the basis of which the impact of participation on the entrepreneurial value chain was assessed. The descriptive survey design used was considered suitable for this study given the ability to examine information on the experiences of men and women in the fisheries value chain. The study focused on three zones and purposively selected market areas based on the socio- economic characteristics, namely; affluent class, middle class and lower class; where the respectively sampled markets were City, South C-Mugoya and Kariobangi markets. Eight men and eight women involved in fisheries value chain from each of the sampled markets were selected for the focus group discussion. Other respondents were 204 men and 174 women comprising 20% entrepreneurs in fisheries value chain; and personnel from the ministry and county government sampled for questionnaire and interview schedule respectively. The focus group discussions, questionnaires, interview and observation schedules were used to collect data. The qualitative data were categorized into patterns, categories and themes based on the study objectives. The SPSS version 16 was used to analyze quantitative data; where cross-tabulations, chi-square and post hoc tests were carried out to demonstrate the relationship between variables. The study findings showed that men were prominent in economically high end City market and South C market while women were more in the marginal Kariobangi market. The findings revealed that men had controlled the competitive value chains namely; aquaculture/fish harvesting, transportation, distribution, middle trade, and large scale while women were more on the lower end value chain namely; grading/sorting/gleaning and market sellers. Gender, age, formal education, marital status  and income per month were established as the socio- economic factors affecting the participation of men and women in the fisheries value chain. The chi-square test result showed a significant association between gender and large scale (p-value=0.001); age and aquaculture/fish harvesting (p-value=0.001); marital status and aquaculture/fish harvesting (p-value 0.036); education and transport (0.036); and income per month and distributor (p- value=0.006); and large scale (p-value=0,004). The study revealed that men compared to women had control over factors of production, capital and credit, hence; invest in high end value chain. The study recommended county government’s facilitation to men and women to have equal access to formal education, capital and credit. The study also recommended that stakeholders to facilitate access to strategic information on entrepreneurship, adequate distribution of labour resource and representation in leadership and decisions.


            Background to the Study

According to the World Bank (2015) and OECD (2013), women as compared to men are a leading portion of the population in many parts of the world including Kenya where they constitute 51% of the entire population (GoK, 2010). It is, therefore, important to recognize their contribution to development through competitive fortitude for resources. Apparently, there is increasing awareness in the society on the important roles that women play especially in the value chains and economic activities.

According to World Bank (2013), various development policies, programmes and donor agencies have commended support for women economic activities and value chains. Fisheries value chains have become viable economic activities for livelihoods, poverty alleviation and economic growth. However, participation by men and women in the sector’s diverse roles is based on culture, values, attitudes, traditions and norms concerning fisheries resource access and control.

The fisheries value chain describes the range of economic activities, which are essential to bringing fish from harvesting and production through different phases of processing, delivery and finally to the consumer. The activities involved in the physical transformation of fisheries commodities and value

chain are determined by the level of participation, autonomy, capacity and decisions of the actors.