A startling new survey has for the first time revealed the kind of woman the Kenyan man desires – she has a chocolate brown complexion, is of medium build, works part-time and has no children.
That is the dream woman for majority of Kenyan men, according to findings in a research commissioned by the Saturday Nation.
Most Kenyan men also want their ideal woman younger than them, shorter than them and earning less money than what they make. Even then, they are willing to let her share in making financial decisions but few would brook her family’s deep involvement in their relationship.
Kenyan men also prefer a woman who has the same level of education as they do, and expect to share domestic chores equally with them.
The survey, conducted by Infotrak Research & Consulting and Harris Interactive Global across the country’s eight provinces in the last week of July, sampled 1,200 single, married, separated and divorced men as well as those living with a partner. The sample is part of a 2,800 population for a larger survey.
Across all the clusters, majority believed that the best time to marry was between the ages of 26 and 35, indicating a shift of accent to completing education and settling into a career first before marriage.
Overall, those polled (54 per cent) wanted to be in a monogamous relationship while 30 per cent preferred an open relationship. Only 10 per cent of the population sample felt they should have the freedom to roam, while six per cent believed the woman could roam as long as they did not know.
Agreement was highest that current relationships are based on financial status (85 per cent), followed by love (76 per cent), character (72 per cent), physical appearance (70 per cent) and level of education (60 per cent), health (55 per cent), age (51 per cent) and cultural background (48 per cent).
Ideally, though, men would like to choose their dream woman on the basis of love and affection (78 per cent), followed by character (70 per cent), physical appearance (68 per cent), level of education (62 per cent), health (60 per cent), age (46 per cent), cultural background (44 per cent) and religious affiliation (38 per cent).
A significant proportion of men prefer a woman to have the same level of education as they do (45 per cent), but 20 per cent would like partners that have less education than they do. Only nine per cent are looking for women who have more education than they do. Twenty six per cent said it did not matter.
Just under half of the men polled would want the woman’s family to be very involved in their relationship against 34 per cent who would want it to be somewhat involved. Another 11 per cent would like her family to be very involved and 10 per cent said it did not matter.
On complexion, Kenyan men who like chocolate brown women was 47 per cent, medium brown 36 per cent while those who prefer the dark are 11 per cent. Yellow-brown complexioned women fit the fancy of only 4 per cent of those polled while one per cent desire bi-racial and another one per cent white women.
Pencil-thin women are the least popular with Kenyan men, with only two per cent of those polled saying they prefer them, and big, well-rounded ones winning the hearts of 22 per cent.
The clear winners are the medium-shaped women, who were cited as the preferred choice for 76 per cent of sample population.
Majority of those polled prefer women who are up to five years younger than them (41 per cent) or same in age (28 per cent). Only a tiny minority (15 per cent) prefer women who are five years younger than them. Five per cent said age did not matter while another five per cent preferred someone who was up to five years their senior, and another two per cent women who were more than five years older than them.
Only five per cent of the men polled would choose a woman who is taller than them. The majority prefer a woman shorter than them (45 per cent) or the same height (26 per cent). Of those polled, 24 per cent thought height was a moot point.
An overwhelming majority (70 per cent) of men polled thought the ideal woman should not have any children with only 15 per cent saying it did not matter and 10 per cent ready to tolerate one child.
Few men prefer a woman with two children (three per cent) and even fewer (two per cent) would like her if she had three or more. Only nine per cent of the men in the survey prefer a woman with more education than them, but the highest number (45 per cent) would like someone with whom they are at par. Just 20 per cent want someone with less education and another 26 per cent thought it did not matter either way.
Half of those polled prefer a woman who earns less money than they do, 35 per cent wanting those that earned the same and 15 per cent keen on those who get less than them. Again, 50 per cent of the men polled preferred a woman who works part-time while 39 per cent were fine with women who worked full time. Just 11 per cent wanted women who did not work at all.
The power struggle in relationships does not, however, spill over into money as 70 per cent of the men polled would prefer a woman who makes financial decisions jointly with them. Only 17 per cent are comfortable making all the financial decisions on their own, against four per cent who would leave financial decision-making to the woman. A sizeable nine per cent said it did not matter.
Although women like to think that men are all the same, age seems to make them as different as day and night. Kenyan men seem better and more open-minded in the lower age brackets.
Younger men, for instance, are markedly different from their middle-aged and older counterparts in their preferences. Those between 18 and 25 find strong independent Kenyan women very attractive and a good match for them while those who are over 35 see the same women as too intimidating and too much trouble.
More men aged between 26 and 35 would like to have sex with their future wife on the first date than any other age group polled, with a significant number across the board keen on action after five dates.
Those between 18 and 25 would like to wait until they are married or at least after they are engaged. The same group had the highest number of people who did not think it did not matter.
For men who are 35 years or older, cultural background is the most important determiner of their current relationship, followed by character and health, then trailed by level of education, love and affection, financial status and age, with physical appearance as the least consideration.
Men between 26 and 35 years old place emphasis on a woman’s level of education, followed by love and affection, financial status, character, health and physical appearance, with age and then cultural background.
Men between 18 and 25 are smitten by good looks, conscious of age, interested in financial status before they figure out how much love and affection exists in their current relationships. Health, character and cultural background then follow, with the woman’s level of education being the least important factor.
Survey sought to find answers to love crisis
Relationships have become the currency of conversation in Kenya, and one of the questions women are grappling with is: What do men want?
Last year, the Sunday Nation laid bare the crisis facing Kenya – that many women, especially in urban centres, were single, divorced or separated.
Ms Angela Ambitho, the managing director of Infotrak, says: “There is an increasing trend of women who are not married or divorced and not able to remarry, or separated, who say there are no men. For us, it became interesting to find out from the men what they wanted.
“Are there things Kenyan women are not doing that they ought to be doing; is it a matter of age – that women are concentrating too much on their careers so that by the time their careers stabilise, they are 35 and are unmarriageable?”
Sometimes, even married women seem to be unsure what their men want because they are running around even where they work hard to be the ideal wife.
One of the interesting observations from the study is that the traditional mindset is quite strong. Many of those polled thought the ideal marriage age is 26 to 35, meaning that there is shift of accent to completing education and settling into a career first before settling down.
This is also evident in the number of respondents who consider financial status as a critical factor in relationships.
Infotrak Research & Consulting set out to discover the ideal woman Kenyan men are looking for.
Interviewers were posted to the country’s eight provinces to question men on what determines relationships in the modern Kenya.
A sample of 1,200 men were interviewed, with married ones constituting 49 per cent of the population, 44 per cent going to the single, 4 per cent being those living with a partner, and the divorced, separated and widowed having 1 per cent each.
The sampling frame was designed using the population proportionate to size and respondents chosen using random sampling. This ensured that every one in the selected areas had an equal chance of being selected in the survey.
[B]Everyone Brings us happiness: Some by arriving, others by leaving/B]
[B]Everyone Brings us happiness: Some by arriving, others by leaving/B]