Why are increasing numbers of women choosing to be single?
The number of single women is steadily growing as many have understood that being single has its advantages. Women in the 21st century are challenging the notion that a woman's value is measured by her relationship status. The Office for National Statistics revealed that in the decade between 2002 and 2018, the figures for single women aged 40 to 70 rose by half a million. Today, one in eight women (13 percent) aged 18 to 60 are unmarried and have children while those with no children make16 percent globally. Society has had different views about single women. In Japan, unmarried women over the age of 25 are referred to as "Christmas cake", mostly because they are past the sell-by date while in Korea they are referred to as "gold miss".
We pooled five single Kenyan women on why they chose to remain unmarried.
'No more disappointments with toxic men'
Ruth James Atieno, 40, businesswoman, a mother of two
"I was too disappointed by men in my last three relationships. I was drained financially as I supported these men who eventually took advantage of my kindness. I always wonder, why I was attracted to broke men and incidentally ended up giving them my heart and supporting them financially. I tend to date toxic men and so I decided to depend on myself while raising my two children and am happy with the decision. I would never want to be in any other draining relationship."
'I want to focus on my career'
Joy Nduku, 35, Auditor
"I have found fulfillment in my career and am not ready to devote my life to a relationship at the moment. I believe in giving my best in everything I do and hence, I am not ready to sacrifice my time for a partner. I prefer to focus on my work first and then, in several years, find the love of my life. Of course, I have men friends but I am not willing to commit myself to any. I am enjoying life as I pursue my dreams. I intend to own and run an auditing firm by the time I say I do."
'I have peace and joy from being single'
Mercy Nanjala, 45, Communication Analyst, a mother of three
"I was dating years ago and the relationship never ended well. My self-esteem was affected after my husband left us and married another woman. This issue affected me so much and since then, I have found peace in being single and discovering myself. When I was in the relationship, I didn't feel fulfilled. I was abused emotionally and I felt I was not good enough for my ex-husband. I fought for many years and despite giving my all in the relationship, I found it was not worth it. I always tell my friends that my ex-husband helped me to have a thick skin as I can no longer stand any toxicity in a relationship. I have been going through counseling sessions and I am glad, I am seeing life from a different perspective and celebrating every moment as a single woman. I am not planning to settle down in any relationship. I just want to bring up my children and work on my career and personal goals. I spend time with friends and I have also learnt to love and spoil myself. I always take myself for dinner and buy myself gifts. Singlehood is fun and so fulfilling."
'I am waiting for the love of my life'
Irene Mbete, 29, Banker
"I was brought up in a Christian home and my parents inspired me to always wait until marriage. Why would I waste time in relationships that do not add value to me and not end up in marriage? Why would I flirt with someone with who I know I am not serious? This will take up all my energy for nothing and I will end up regretting wasting time with the wrong person. For now, I prefer taking time until I meet the love of my life. I am not expecting to get a perfect person for no human is perfect but I hope to get someone whose values match mine. When that time comes I will know and I believe one sign of knowing the right person is by how peaceful they make you feel. Currently, I am reading books about marriage and building myself. I believe my husband will be glad to have me as his wife."
'I value independence and I don't want to be accountable to anyone'
Mary Cheptap Oret, 50, Businesswoman, mother of one
"I love my space and I don't want to be accountable to anyone. Independence has been my mantra and I am enjoying every bit of life. I have watched how my married friends have to be accountable to their partners over every detail of their lives. I find it so draining having to explain where I am, how much I earn, who I am with, and sharing most moments with someone. I am not discouraging people from getting married but it's not my thing. I believe life is easy and should be enjoyed and no human being deserves to control every move you make in life. I don't have to rely on anyone when making my decisions. Women are now standing for their rights and are no longer ashamed anymore about their choices. I celebrate every single woman out there. May you go forth and shine in all you do. Be fulfilled."
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