Women empowerment and gender based violence in Serengeti district, Mara region, Tanzania

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This study was conducted in Serengeti District to assess the extent to which women empowerment is linked to Gender Based Violence (GBV). Specifically, the study examined the extent ofGBV in the area, the attitude ofthe communities towards GBV and the responses of women during and after GBV. The study also sought to establish the linkage between socio-economic status and GBV as well as the linkage between women empowerment and GBV. Serengeti District was purposively selected to be the study area because of having a high level of GBV as opposed to other districts of Mara region. Three divisions were purposively selected while four wards and two villages from each ward were randomly selected to make a total of 8 villages for the study. Data were collected between August 2007 and June 2009. A total of 240 women selected randomly were subjected to a questionnaire survey. Other data were collected through focus group discussions and indepth interviews. Descriptive statistics and inferential statistics applied. Based on the findings, various forms of GBV were found to be practiced in the attitude, both victims; and perpetrators of GBV had positive perception towards GBV. Furthermore, GBV was influenced by empowerment indicators such as decision making at to all women regardless of socio economic status. However, findings of the study revealed that as economic status of women improves the level of GBV decreases. It is concluded that improving women’s socio-economic status and decision making through awareness creation would reduce GBV in the area. Additionally, increasing the age of girls at first marriage would eventually reduce GBV. It is, therefore, recommended that social and economic empowerment is needed to relieve women from GBV. A revision of various laws such as the Marriage Act of 1971 which allow marriage of young girls of 15 years old is required which would increase the age of women at first marriage and reduce GBV. Enacting of bylaws to fight against some of the outdated cultural norms is recommended as a strategy towards elimination of early pregnancies and marriage of young girls. Awareness creation to both men and women in the area is needed in order to change their perceptions towards some ofthe cultural practices like marriage between two women, paying of bride price and ritual cleansing.




Women empowerment, Gender based violence, Cultural norms, Teenage pregnancy, Serengeti district, Tanzania