Gender Roles and Practices in Natural Resource Management Among the Kilosa Maasai in Tanzania

Lucy W Massoi


This article empirically describes gender roles and practices in natural resource
management among the pastoral Maasai society of Kilosa, Tanzania. Through a
qualitative approach, a descriptive case study design was adopted to collect and analyse
data using content analysis. Results show that gender roles and practice in land
management is gender differentiated. There is a strong patriarchal system in Maasai
societies that govern access to, and use of, land. Women have limited access/ownership
to land and have to seek permission from men to use land. In this regard, the hardest
hit are women who use land without having independent access or muscles for
negotiating due to existing norms and values that license their exclusion. The article
argues that unless customary practices are addressed, women issues will remain
unchanged given the presence of a male-centred customary practice built on strong
patriarchal system that side-lines women in land management.

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