Social-Cultural Factors Affecting Maasai Women Participation In Decision Making In Tanzania. A Case Study Of Longido District
Carolyn Kandusi, Dr. Esther Waiganjo
Index Terms: Social Identity, Social Acceptance, Social Roles, Culture, Women’s participation in decision making.
Abstract: Throughout history, participation in decision making through processes like voting, vying for leadership position and participation in decision making meetings; has been blinded by discrimination to certain groups of community members including women. This study assessed the social cultural factors affecting Maasai women’s participation in decision making a case of Longido district. Purposive sampling was used to select the districts under the study. Decision to select Longido was based on the inhabitance of pastoral community. A total of 115 respondents were obtained through simple random selection. Data were collected through a questionnaire and analyzed using SPSS. Simple descriptive statistics and cross tabulation were used in the analysis. The results show that majority would you vote for a woman to be an MP/ Councilor/ Village Chairman in your community. A considerable proportion of men refused to be led by a woman. Furthermore, women were found not to effectively participate in politics through vying for leadership positions as many respondents voted for male contestant, main reasons being no female contestant. Situations in which women are involved in decision making were found mainly to be on issues pertaining women development and family matters. Findings show that women are allowed to vote in the community but often the decision for a woman to vote was found to be determined by men. The study further found that women are not regarded elders and female's ideas were not taken into account as male ideas in village meetings. The main barriers for women participation in leadership were found that men do not want women to compete in leadership and women ideas not accepted by most men. The study concluded that Maasai women’ participation in decision making is limited by social cultural factors like social identity, social acceptance, social roles and limiting cultural practices. It is recommended that civic education strategy and appropriate programs should be designed and implemented to raise the level of knowledge and understanding of women rights and potentials in leadership and decision making. Continuous and effective sensitization of Maasai men and women on changing of their mindsets to accept the ability of women and their leadership potentials is paramount in influencing men’s decision making to accepting women in leadership and decision making organs.
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