The fertility of the post-fertile: Concepts of gender, aging and reproductive health among the Giriama of Kenya

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Abstract

Among the Giriama of Kenya, post-menopausal women are custodians of the central, ritual objects of a female cult that is believed to enable reproductive health. By asking why cult custodians must be women and must be post-menopausal, this paper explores cultural constructions of gender, aging, health, and power. The solution to the paradox of how post-fertile women enable fertility illustrates the salience of ethnomedical beliefs for informing explorations into conceptions of gender and the life course. It can also shed light upon variations in involvement of women and men as ritual specialists in non-western societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-306
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1992

Keywords

  • Africa
  • aging
  • cultural constructions
  • gender
  • Giriama
  • health
  • Kenya
  • power
  • ritual roles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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