Women Protection and Development
Women as a group are one of the most disadvantaged sections of society in Arusha region. The degree of depriving of women of their rights and their true position in society is high among the people of the region, especially in rural areas. Women in the region suffer from a high degree of social inferiority influenced by customs and low status in the family circle. The absence of women in leadership position at community, ward, district and regional levels demonstrates this. The practice of high bride prices reduces women to economic objects for ownership by the highest bidder. Thus the huge majority of women in the region are restricted to their traditional roles of child minders, family cooks and housekeepers, firewood and water collectors, farm labourers and even house builders.
Traditional customs such as the custom of female genital mutilation (female circumcision) are still much in evidence in this region and is still being practiced by some tribes while in certain other tribes within the region, the thin dividing line between rape and consensus sex continues to relegate women to the status of love objects.
The response of the government and enlightened civil society has been to try to mainstream women protection and development in the region’s development agenda. This has called for the emancipation and empowerment of women through the legal window and the alternatives of public education and the broaching gender issues in fora at all levels of society. The goal is for the region to catch up with the rest of the country in the matter of women equity and equality with men.
Results from the 2002 Population census and housing show that the number of females exceess that of males in Arusha region. The results revealed that there were 653,146 females in comparison with 634,942 males. In order to respond to the needs of women emancipation in society, women economic groups have been established to cater for to-day’s women emerging needs
The Youth are an economic group which most communities pay attention to its needs. Arusha Region has shown much attention to this group by encouraging them to form economic groups. Table 6.4 shows the number of economic groups for youths, membership and the amount of money loaned to these groups. The table shows that there are 171 economic youth groups in the Region’s six districts. These 171 youth economic groups have a total membership of 1373 members, 897 being males and 476 being females.Working together in economic groups increases the chances of accessing credit funds by youth groups. In the year 2007/2008, there were 99 groups that managed to get loans amounting to Tshs.107,768,200/=.