- The economic implications of forced motherhood extend beyond individual families.
- The reduced educational and professional opportunities for women translate to diminished human capital and economic growth for the nation.
The Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2022 found that the Teenage pregnancy rate in Kenya is at 15 per cent. This means that about 1 in 7 girls aged 15-19 are either pregnant or have already had a child. From this numbers, its clear we have “normalised” sexual violence to children whereby cases of rape, defilement continue to increase in the recent past.
Furthermore, we have continued to normalise it by misinforming young girls and women that it is better to have a child early. This is wrong. Being a child, being pregnant and expected to carry, bring the pregnancy to term and take care of a child should be questioned.
This is part of brainwashing that we continue to institutionalise through Crisis pregnancy centre that drop you at eight or nine months when they know you have no other option but to deliver? This is wrong.
Forced motherhood, a situation where women are compelled to bear children against their will, remains a pressing issue in Kenya. To some, motherhood is a profound aspect of many women's lives, the circumstances under which they become mothers can have a profound impact on society, the economy, and the healthcare system.
The impact that this has on the psychosocial health of girls, women remains unbearable. If we stop to hold persons responsible to account on these issues, we continue to fail these survivors. It is saddening that for the longest time we have continued to struggle with access to comprehensive sexuality education that impacts skills and information to all persons on how to report, being assertive amongst other vital skills and information.
One of the most significant impacts of forced motherhood is the reduced participation of women in the workforce. Women who are compelled into motherhood at an early age often find it challenging to complete their education and secure employment.
This results in a smaller workforce, limiting the country's economic potential. This in turn reduces workforce productivity that’s impacts their economic lives and feeds to the general economic development.
Forced motherhood often traps women in a cycle of economic dependency. Without access to family planning and reproductive choices, women in different families may struggle to provide for their children, leading to increased poverty levels.
The economic implications of forced motherhood extend beyond individual families. The reduced educational and professional opportunities for women translate to diminished human capital and economic growth for the nation.
Forced motherhood can have detrimental effects on maternal health. Women who are forced into motherhood may not receive adequate prenatal care, leading to higher risks of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. This increases risks that burden people, including the general healthcare system.
Also an increase in unplanned pregnancies due to forced motherhood places a considerable burden on healthcare facilities. Hospitals and clinics may struggle to accommodate a surge in demand for maternal healthcare services. Speaking of costs, the higher number of unplanned pregnancies and childbirths due to forced motherhood escalates healthcare costs. Kenya's healthcare system must allocate more resources to cater to the healthcare needs of these mothers and their infants.
Post-abortion care is a right of every person that needs it. Its emergency health treatment. Can we start having the discussions of access, provision of comprehensive abortion care? The government together with partners should continue having out of the box solutions relating to return to school, access to comprehensive sexuality education, access to safe abortion to survivors of sexual violence and tightening the judicial system to ensure offenders are put behind bars.
Forced motherhood in Kenya continues to have dire consequences for both the nation's economy and its healthcare system. The ripple effect of reduced workforce productivity, increased economic dependency and a strained healthcare infrastructure poses significant challenges for the country's development.
Addressing this issue requires a multi-faceted approach, encompassing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education, access to contraception, and a cultural shift towards respecting women's choices regarding motherhood. In doing so, Kenya can unlock its full economic potential and ensure better maternal health for all women.