Changing gender relations are more apparent in urban than rural areas in Eastern Africa. This panel will discuss the consequences of urban life, and gender arrangements and roles on urban socioeconomic development and societal wellbeing.
Discourse on changing gender roles and relations in Africa tend to corroborate the assumption that increasing socioeconomic empowerment and bargaining clout among women challenge traditional patriarchal structures. However, media reportage and social research analyses on urban gender relations in Eastern Africa demonstrate a transition from the typical male dominance over women and subsequent improvement of cooperation, and gender 'equality'. Increasing cases of gender-based violence, involving both male and female victims in urban areas underscore the emerging gender transition that urbanism tend to expedite. The basic premise of this panel is that traditional African gender roles and relations are undergoing rapid change due to urbanization and rural-urban influx witnessed in Eastern Africa. Second, the dynamics of masculinity vary with ethnic identities that shape new forms of gender relations, which are more visible in urban than rural areas. This panel intends to stimulate discussion on how urbanism in Eastern Africa reflect continuity and discontinuity in indigenous ethnic and gender identities and the effects of these phenomena on well-being in urban societies. Papers are invited to discuss how traditional and contemporary ethnic gender identities and relations influence well-being in towns and cities in Eastern Africa. Attention will also be directed to analyses of urban life and emerging social arrangements, transformations in masculinity, femininity, and gender roles and relations in urban areas. The ways in which the uptake of urban socioeconomic development interventions reflect transitions in ethnic gender identities in Eastern Africa will also be discussed.