Female education, adolescent sexuality and the risk of sexually transmitted infection in Ariaal Rendille culture

Citation:
E.N. PN. "Female education, adolescent sexuality and the risk of sexually transmitted infection in Ariaal Rendille culture.". 2001.

Abstract:

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Female education, adolescent sexuality and the risk of
sexually transmitted infection in Ariaal Rendille culture
ERIC A. ROTH, ELLIOT M, FRATKlN, ELIZABETH N, NGVGl
and BARRYW. GLICKMAN
For over 20 years, demographic analyses have shown female education associated with
decreased fertility and infant/child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. Far less studied are the
pathways and overall effects of female education upon Sexually Transmitted Infections
(ST!s). An earlier 1996 study of one community of Ariaal Rendille pastoralists in Marsabit
District of northern Kenya, suggested that female education may reduce the risk of STls by
removing educated adolescent women from the cultural tradition of pre-marital sexual relationships
featuring early sexual debut and frequent partner change, Log-linear analysis of a
1998 sample of 127 adolescent women supports this model, with female education being
negatively associated with the nyken tradition. However, the full potential of female education
for lowering STf risk may be negated by traditional Ariaal cultural patterns of differentially
sending boy rather than girl: to school,
Introduction
Sub-Saharan Africa today features the world's highest levels of fertility,
infant and child mortality and sexually transmitted infectious diseases,
with t.he last including Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
(National Academy of Sciences 1996). All three param iters are affected by
female education. Beginning with Caldwell's (1979) seminal analysis of
Nigerian survey data, two decades of research link maternal education with
decreased fertility and child/infant mortality (see, for example, United
Nations 1985, Cleland and Kaufmann 1998, Cleland and Van Ginneken
1989). Relationships between maternal education and fertility are, however,
not as straightforward as the 'dose and response' patterns measured for
infant/child mortality, and in some cases may actually reveal a positive
relationship (Jejeebhoy 1995, United Nation, 1995, Bledsoe et al. 1999a),
Nonetheless the International Conference on Population and Development
in Cairo, 1994, strongly called for universal female access to education
because:
Eric A. Rott, is Professor in the Department of !\nthropology at the Univc rsity of Victoria, British
Columbia. Canada. Elliot .Il. Fro/kin is Associarc Professor at Smith College, British Columbia.
Elissobeth i\'. .Ygugi is Lecturer in the Department of Community Tlealth at the University of Nairobi,
Barry nr Oliclonan is Director of rhe Centre for Environmental Health and Professor, in the
Department of Biology at the University of icroria. ,\11 correspondence to Erie Roth, Department
of Anthropology, University of Victoria, PO Box 3050, Victoria, British Columbia. Canada V8W 3P5;
e-rnail: cricroth@>uvic.ca
('I/II/I/'{', I leatth (:if Sex/wlil)'
ISHN 1369-1058 print/ISS,", 1464-5351 online ZOOlTaylor & Francis

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