GEOs and Gender: GEOs and What They Mean for Women Farmers in Kenya
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Kenya is on the brink of becoming the fourth African nation to commercialize genetically engineered organisms (GEOs). The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) program is expected to publicly release a variety of drought tolerant Bt maize seed as early as 2017. WEMA is marketing this technology as a means of improving food security among small-scale farmers in Kenya’s arid zones. To date, little research has been conducted investigating the potential impacts of this technology for small-scale farmers, particularly women. This thesis uses Feminist Political Ecology as a theoretical construct in predicting the gendered implications of the commercialization of WEMA’s GE maize seed in the Machakos and Kitui districts of Kenya. It argues that socio-political factors that limit women’s access to key ecological resources are likely to restrict the benefits of GE technology.