I don't think you can use the = sign and wildcards together. However you could try this.
SELECT * FROM YourTable WHERE YourField LIKE '% " & strKeyword & " %'"
This I believe would keep you from finding "whether". However the down side of this is that if your data has anything but spaces before or after your keyword than it won't return that record (i.e. the,).
Here's another post where me and some other people discussed a similar problem.