Friday, January 6, 2023


  Eli-express       Friday, January 6, 2023



Tanzania is largest country among East African countries.  Being the largest has been affected with many socio-economic problems which are in need of quick response to contain it. This Chapter will try to identify some of these issues by giving the meaning of some concepts, but also suggesting some remedies to address them.

Meaning of cross cutting issues

The meaning has been given by different scholars, researchers and scientists differently depending on environment and place.  Cross cutting issues are problems that touch on general principles.  But can further be defined and   integrated into all areas of donor programs addressed in all political dialogue on development.

Thus, Cross cutting issue are many socio-economic matter which must be solved or published within a particular society. But also, includes all matters that impact in more than one field .That means the national policies and programs should be clear in such issues and must be interconnected prioritized for effective development. Among of these include Gender, HIV/AIDS, corruption, drug abuse, environmental issues, human rights, and democracy.


Any human struggle in daily activities targets to achieve something huge. This achievement is either at individual, family or national level. Inevitably depends on some efforts from all members in the given community or society, either a man or woman.  Thus, the concept of Gender and development should incorporate the human struggle (either man or a woman) toward certain end or goals.

Gender can be defined as the social concept regarding the cultural bond, roles and behaviors as well as relationship between male and female (men and women, boys and girls) in a particular society. That means the way boys and girls or women and men behave toward each other in the society.

Also, in other words Gender can be conceptualized as socially and cultural constructed characteristics and norms which are attributed to different biological sexes.  If the sex is female and male, gender is feminist and masculinity respectively.

Generally gender refers to the social relationship between male and females in a given society. Gender varies according to the nature and or environment of the given society.  Besides of the definition of Gender, also the concept of development should be given; development means a change from a backward or lower to a better or advanced stage in different aspects of human life, (Bukagile, 2008:30). Such aspects may be materials, social, cultural, political and even spiritual in nature. However development is at two levels, first, at individual / personal level and second at national level.

When development is considered at individual level is the situation whereby a man attains certain skills and ability in production, creation, innovation, responsibility, higher income, better production and so forth, while development at National level means increased ability of social group to control their environment such that they produce more and better goods and services to satisfy human requirement.  Therefore, the relationship which exists between individual men and women can spear head development at individual and National level.  For example gender equality and mainstreaming at both levels can positively contribute to a national development.

Many questions should be posed on Gender relations in Tanzania, is there gender biased or balanced in Tanzania?  Are both men and women produce and share equally, are all sex contribute equally in national development? If yes or no what are the influences.  These questions will be attempted in the next sub-topic.


Gender refers to the roles and responsibilities of men and women that are created in families, society and culture. These roles and expectations are learned and, can change over time and they vary within and between cultures.

This concept is very important as it reveals how women’s subordination is socially constructed. It is neither biologically determined nor fixed forever

 This refers to the biological differences between men and women (male and female) which are natural, real and determined at birth; that is the differences in their reproductive organs.

Gender issue

Gender issue refers to beliefs, attitudes, practice, policy, and all things which may stimulate discussions, arguments or agreements/ disagreements and quarrels between two sexes.

Gender equality

This means a situation whereby men and women have equal conditions for realizing their full human rights for contributing to and benefiting from economic, social, cultural and political development.

Gender equity

Gender equity means fairness of treatment for men and women according to their respective needs. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but which is considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations, and opportunities.

Gender analysis

Gender analysis refers to the variety of methods used to understand the relationships between men and women, their access to resources, their activities, and the constraints they face relative to each other. It involves the process of exploring the differences between men and women in experiences, skills, knowledge, talents.

Gender role

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines gender roles as “socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women”. They are the functions which are socially classified by sex without necessarily being determined by sex. E.g. cooking, fetching water and firewood, etc. they are classified as female gender roles though they can be performed by men as well

Sex roles

This is a biological function necessarily for a particular sex category. Example; conception, giving birth and breast feeding are female sex roles, while fertilization of the ovum is the male sex role.

Gender stereotype

Is the assigning of roles, tasks and responsibilities to a particular gender on the basis of interests.

Gender oppression

is the situation where by one gender type is suppressed by another gender because of its being of that gender. It includes harsh treatment of one sex group e.g suppressing women’s rights, burning of women’s say etc.

Gender gap

Is a social economic and political difference in status, level of development or advancement between men and women. An experience shows that men are of higher status than women.

Gender inequality

Is the situation where by there is unequal treatment of gender such that one group is given more Prentice than the other.

Gender bias

Is the positive or negative of attitude or practice of gender issues towards men and women e. g. considering women inferior in front of men etc.

Gender sensitivity

Is the situation of being aware of difference in role performed by women and men and the needs to be planned and obtained by the two genders.

Gender analysis

Is a type of socio-economic analysis that uncovers how gender relations affect a development problem.

Gender focus

Is the addressing of specific gender need determined by a specific gender. It is demonstration of gender sensitivity on the needs and privileges that men and women should get in society.

Gender balance

Is the situation where by men and women or male and female live their opportunity rights and needs equally.

Gender discrimination

Is the situation in which one kind of sex is denied its rights and opportunities in the society just because of its being in that category. This signifies that people are isolated because of being male or female. For example in Tanzania gender discrimination has been affecting women more than men.

Discrimination occurs in access to various opportunities like labour, employment, market, political and social structures. It is the situation in which one kind of sex is denied its rights and opportunities in the society just because of its being in that category.

Areas of discrimination includes the following

1.Discrimination to access the formal education, girls children have had being denied to access formal education compared to boys.

2.Discrimination to inherit the property from the deceased person such as house, land, cattle and others. This has been noted in the societies dominated by a patriarchy system on which girls or women are not given such chances.

3.Also discrimination in decision making and political participation, this has experienced in many families on which women cannot give their views on family matter or a society concern, and also women were not given a chance to engage in political affairs such as being a member of parliament or administrators (Regional and District Commissioners).

4.Discrimination has been experienced on power to acquire certain employment, you may find that large proportional of women cannot access to employment due to education level or historical background including culture, colonialism, ignorance, and government policy. Thus, many chances and higher posts ranks are occupied by men compared to women.

5.Discrimination on domestic work/ affairs, girls’ children in most African societies deal with domestic works. The burdens of domestic works are felt by girls or women than boys or men. This causes girls to postpone many things like studying, leisure and resting.



Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property. Most patriarchal societies are also matrilineal, meaning that property and title are inherited by the male lineage.

Therefore; Patriarchal system is a system in which men are dominant and women are subordinates. Under this system men are considered to have power to ownership, and control over the valuable things while women are considered as powerless and have fewer or no ownership of property.

Patriarchal system in Tanzania is influenced with socio-cultural factors. Each society (tribe/ ethnic group) have its own socio-cultural practices used by people in such a society.

These socio-cultural practices tend to glorify one sex on the expenses of the other. For example in African countries most cultural practices give more power to men on the expenses of women.

These are mainly based on in decision making, food taboos, power, child preferences, inheritance just mention a few.

In case of Tanzania patriarchy system has been dominant in most tribes because of primitive tribal culture.  Men have been the decision makers, very powerful in family leadership, resources ownership, inherit properties such as land and that of dead person.  These have contributed to Gender imbalance and Gender biases.  Thus, the development of gender gap that has being noticed in Tanzania is due to patriarchal systems’ dominance.


1. In a family a father holds all power over women and children.

2. Women are subordinates to mean’s rule (i.e. they are dependent to men).

3. Power is held by and passed down through male elder.

4. Marriage is based on property ownership (i.e. men are the subject of paying bride price).

5. Oppression of female gender.

6. Execution of women from authority and power over the community.

7. In marriage women always move to their husbands family empires.

8. Men are considered to have central authority to all organizations.

9. Marriage to women is a social bound issue i.e. it is planned under man’s final decisions.

10. Men are given privileges of power in directing and controlling all issues in the society.


Matriarchy is the system in the society where by females, especially mother have the central role of all social political issues of the community. In this system a mother is said to have power to control and run the family however being dominant even in community issues. The societies with such a system are also termed as gynocentric societies. Generally matriarchy system can be defined as the social political formation in which women occupies the ruling power and position in the family which is the primary cell of the society.

 Characteristics/ features of matriarchal system

1. Women direct all social political and cultural issues of the community.

2. The mother is the head of the family and all descendants.

3. There is equity in division of roles, duties and share.

4. A woman is likely to rule the state.

5. Existence of woman power and say in the society.

6. Popularity of female title and   names in social issue.

7. Consideration of women as important figures in the society.

How the patriarchal system in Tanzania influence gender relations

In Tanzania gender discrimination have been directly or indirectly practiced in different institutions under which the areas of discriminations can be observed.  Therefore the institutions for gender discrimination are the areas of socialization which have influence on gender construction and deconstruction.

At family Level

As the first socialization agent it has some negative upbringing practice which has undesirable results against gender equality in the following ways:-

Under patriarchal systems, girls and boys in Tanzania grow up in households and communities that treat them differently and unequally where boys are taught to learn that they have greater social value because they are permanent members of their families of birth.

The use of offensive language against female in front of children. This makes boys feel that they are superior to girls from childhood.

Division of labor. At the family level a girl child is accorded heavier and time consuming work load compared to that of boys. For instance fetching water, cooking, washing clothes taking care of babies at home are said to be quite of a girl not a boy.

Female beatings and harassment during marital conflict. Boys are trained to be aggressive and muscular with reasonable tolerance while girls are always told to have tolerance for their emotional expressiveness.

Toys for children. The notion that men are stronger than women is presented in child cartoons via mass media. A child is learning how to act through observing what message is being presented through the mass media. For example, a doll for a girl and a toy gun for a boy.

Education to boys rather than girls. Many parents are reluctant to send their daughters to school while preference is given to boys.

Males have more access to control of resources and decision making while females have no right impedance of property in patriarchal families.

Females are denied access to information technology, time to relax and socialize

The community Level

There are traditional norms, values, beliefs and practices that lead to gender inequality. They include the following:

Initiation ceremonies: These are carried out in some societies where by girls are insisted to be submissive to men. Hence, girls who have undergone initiation become passive in schools and this leads to poor academic performance

Women have no right to inheritance of property of their parents or husband

Women are not supposed to eat certain types of food when they are pregnant. In some societies, for instance, not allowed to eat mutton, eggs etc. This weakens their reproductive health and affects the health of both a woman and the baby to be born as they lack nutritious food.

A girl has no right to choose her fiancé. In some societies, it is the parents who decide who is to be a husband of their daughter regardless of her consent.

Bride price/ dowry payment. This enslaves women and they turn out to be like a commodity bought or exchanged with another commodity. This makes their husbands to mistreat them as they think that they bought them.

Stereotyping: Stereotypes are over –generalized beliefs about people based on their membership in one of many social categories.

Men are perceived as aggressive, cooperative and financial and providers while women are viewed as passive, cooperative and caretakers.

Women are not regarded as important in big decisions of the community

Laws and regulations: Women are only the rulers of domestic life. For example, cooking, fetching water, caring for children.

Institutional Level

Religious Institutions

Some religious doctrines emphasize on submissiveness of women to men. For example, in Islam there is provision which states that “Men are    guardians over women because Allah has made them to overstay. So a virtuous woman is one who is obedient……. “(Quran 4:34) Also some people quote the Bible that God said to a woman “I will greatly multiply your pain in child bearing in pain you shall bring forth children. Yet your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you” (Gen 3:16)

Women are denied of high leadership positions in churches or mosques. These positions are only reserved for men.

The school institutions

The literature used in schools portray the role of women negatively For example; women are portrayed as sexual objects.

Sexual harassment is serious to girls from male teachers. Teachers expect girls to fail while boys are considered to be brilliant. Hence, girls are not encouraged to do better than boys.

The state institution

There are poor government policies on women whereby most leadership positions are dominated by men while having lower percentage of women leaders.

Equal opportunities emphasized in legislation are not being often enforced.

Some customary laws are retrogressive and most of the judicial laws are customary law.

Confining women in private sphere.

Impact of gender discrimination on social and economic development

Gender inequality has a great impact especially on women. In most cases men have more opportunities to have an income, more political and social rights than women. Women experience more poverty than men due to gender discrimination.

As it has already been noted previously that, wherever there is dominance of patriarchy, the gender bias, gender imbalance and Gender discrimination also exists. Gender discrimination is the process of treating people differently and unequally based on gender.

This involves the process of isolating a certain gender and treating it differently (Zombwe, 2008: 117-118). This signifies that people are discriminated or isolated because of being male or female, for example in Tanzania gender discrimination had been affecting some women.

These differences lead to several impacts on social and economic development as follows:-

The inability of some mothers to meet the financial needs of their families. This has had an impact on the level of post natal care and thus on health of their children. For example, it has been researched and found that some mothers do not attend clinics if they perceive that their children’s clothes are un-presentable.

Increase of maternal mortality rate: There has been an increase in maternal mortality rate. It is regarded as a key indicator of women’s unequal access to health care. Causes are attributed to abortion, toxemia in pregnancy, pre-eclampsia, post hemorrhage:  sepsis during child birth and ruptured uterus due to early marriages among girls.

Humiliation and exploitation of women due to rape, forced prostitution, kidnapping of girls and trafficking of women for sexual business

Poor health to women due to, for instance, bearing many children and being over worked by productive roles, reproductive roles and community roles

Disability and incapacitation of woman due to domestic violence. Some form physical violence from the husbands or male partners may range from the pushing and slapping to battering and maiming.

Poor diet due to forbidding women to eat certain types of nutritious food such as mutton, eggs, etc.

Poverty and misery. This happens due to denial of property ownership such as land inheritance and property inheritance, etc

Lack of financial support: Most women do not qualify to get bank loans for running economic activities since they lack collateral security as they do not have access to property ownership.

Killing of female babies at birth or female infanticide due to son preference.

Old age abandonment or neglect due to lack of children or lack of support.

Unequal access to education, the numbers of women who are educated are very few compared to men. This cause barrier for the women to acquire good chances for employment and decision making.

It triggers poverty and underdevelopment. This is because women forms a large proportional number of country’s population. That means when women become poor the society is also poor and national at large.

Gender discrimination has caused women movement against it. Women groups have triggered movement against discrimination in all affairs. The group of feminism in Western countries, also Beijing movement which enforced Tanzania to implement the Beijing Platform for Action (BPA).  Also some women group like TAWLA (Tanzania Women Lawyers’ Association) and TAMWA (Tanzania Media Women’s Association) have been vigorously fighting against gender discrimination.

Widespread of violence against women, being discriminated in other affairs such as employment, lack of education and inheritance. Also they have been vulnerably affected with violence like beatings, sexual abuse such as raping and forced marriage.

Misplacement of properties or resources, the discrimination in inheritance of the deceased properties for a girl or a woman leads misplacement of such properties. For example in many Tanzanian society, if happens that parent has no a boy child he was to inherit his properties to brothers and uncles not his daughter.  This was due to lack of gender sensitization which has influenced with gender bias.

Gender discrimination leads to denial of human rights; if there is any kind of discrimination in given society, there will be inevitably denial of human rights, for example previously women were denied to acquire education in many societies because of the socio-cultural practices, besides denial for inheritance of women and generally patriarchal system. This can be concluded that their rights have been grabbed and henceforth they have remained dependency and poor.

Also, gender discrimination leads to dependency syndromes in the society. For example if a certain sex within a certain gender relation cannot easily access to some resources like land, education, employment and so forth, surely  will remain poor and  In such manner it is obvious that,   many women in Africa particularly Tanzania are poor compared to men. Being poor consequently lead them to be dependant

However, many strategies to contain gender discrimination have been put in place by the Government, Non- Governmental Organization and Civil Based Organization. In the near future Tanzanian society will attain a pure gender balance and henceforth preserving the women rights.

Affirmative actions toward balancing gender relation in Tanzania

Because of gender discrimination in our society, some measures and efforts to address it have been put in place by the governments, legal institutions and women themselves.  A balanced gender relation is the situation whereby there is equivalent accessibility of men and women to different social and economic needs such as leadership, employment opportunities, inheritance of properties and education.

Generally the term affirmative actions refer to policies that take factors including “race, gender, colour, religion, sex or national origin” into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group at the expenses of a majority group, usually as a means to counter the majority group, and   effects of discrimination history.  Or it is action taken to increase the representation of women and minority in areas of employment, education and business from which they have historically excluded.

The following are some affirmative actions which have been put in place.

Education for girl child has been emphasized.

The primary Education development Programs (PEDP) 2001 to 2006 abolished school fees in primary education; also the school committee with gender balanced composition of equal numbers of women and men have been established and sensitized to ensure that the gender needs of both girls and boys are met in education delivery.  Also the number of female pupils/students enrollment in learning institutions have increased for example in 2002 the enrollment stood at 96.1% and up to 2004 it increased up until 104.2% (in primary school), but also in high learning institution the enrollment of female student increased whereby in 2001 the UDSM admitted 27% female students and increased up to 33% in 2004, (URT 2004: 17-18)

The public service management and employment policy together with the public service regulations have provided an environment for promoting equal opportunities and eliminating discrimination and bias against women.

Besides, the government had domesticated the international labor standard through enactment of National Employment services Act (1999).  It provides equal opportunities to men and women in access to employment services.  Also the employment and labor relation act (2003) was passed by the parliament.  It prohibits discrimination at work place on the basis of gender, sex, marital status, disability and pregnancy among other.

Women political empowerment in decision making

To increase the number of women in politics and decision making special seats for women in the parliament increased from 15 percent in 1995 to a minimum of 20 percent in 2000 and from 25 percent in 1995 to 33.3 percent in 2000 in the local council, (URT, 2004:14). Besides, the Government in collaboration with the development partners and NGO’s have under taken capacity building programs to empower women parliamentarians in the area of information and communication technology (ICT). Also by 2000 the government collaborated with development partners, civil societies and mass media to sensitize and prepare women to contest for election in local councils and parliament / house of representative in Zanzibar

Also women have been empowered economically

The National micro- finance policy (2000) provides guidelines to achieve gender equality in accessing financial services. Also women in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMS’s) have been empowered economically by facilitating their  access to financial facilities in the form of credit, training in entrepreneurship and business management as well as market accessibility.  Besides, women have been mobilized to form saving and Credit Cooperative Associations (SACCOS) and the Community banks

In legal matter also liberal environment for women has been done, the government have ratified some law made by international agencies and has amended some law which were detrimental or discriminatory against These are: – The Law of Marriage Act of 1971.The probation of offenders Ordinance of 1962. The employment Ordinance Cap.366; Sexual Offences (Special Provision) Act (1998), The Land Act No.4, and the Village Land Act No 5 of 1999, were reviewed. In case of Zanzibar two pieces of legislation for review included, The Education Act No.6 of 1982 and The Spinsters Act of 1985.


Other measures to improve Gender relations in our society                     

The civic education should be introduced at all level of education. This will stimulate gender sanitization in the society. Also civil based organizations (CBO) and Non-government organizations (NGO’s) should encourage gender balance and negative repercussions of patriarchal practices in a society should be clearly identified from the society.

Elimination of bad socio-cultural practices; these socio cultural practices include frequent beating of women, forced marriage, women oppression and female Genital mutilation. It is this socio- cultural practice which leads to gender discriminations.

Religion institutions should take into account the issue of gender. All forms of discrimination should be condemned, through preaching. This will change followers’ belief and thus discriminations of any form will be lessened in the society.

The discriminated sex should unify and demand their right through demonstration, mass media, forums and conferences. Women are vulnerable to discrimination in African societies. They are discriminated in education, employment and decision making, but being victims they are not united among themselves, thus, they have been not supporting each other. For example during general elections some women have been not supporting and voting for their fellow women in different chances.

The society should eliminate stereotype behavior toward other gender. The stereotype normally dominates in the African society in which the society has not been having confident in women. They believe that women cannot perform some activities or duties. For example, the society believes that women cannot opt in science subjects, but also occupying some offices and perform or engage in decision making. This syndrome should be eliminated in our society and have confidence with women.

All in all, the affirmative action and other measures have not effectively implemented in Tanzania, thus there is a need to cultivate awareness creation, training and provision of paralegal services particularly in the rural areas, but also people mindset for positive change and gender sensitization should be implemented and should incorporate elimination of patriarchal system.




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