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Setting Themselves Apart: Education, Capabilities, and Sexuality Among Samburu Women in Kenya

From: Anthropological Quarterly
Volume 81, Number 3, Summer 2008
pp. 551-577 | 10.1353/anq.0.0020



Formal education for girls among the pastoralist Samburu of northern Kenya imparts new knowledge and skills, but also inculcates ideas and attitudes that clash with conventional understandings of female capabilities, sexuality, and gender roles. As a result, formal education has contributed to increased differentiation between educated and uneducated girls and women, with some negative implications for individuals as well as for female solidarity more generally. This article explores the meaning and implications of symbolic boundaries created and maintained by educated girls and women manifested both in words and ideas and embodied in dress and adornment.