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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Women as Children: Culture, Political Economy and Gender Inequality among Kisongo Maasai
Author:Hodgson, Dorothy L.ISNI
Periodical:Nomadic Peoples
Geographic term:Tanzania
gender relations
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Development and Technology
Cultural Roles
Equality and Liberation
Sex Roles
External link:https://doi.org/10.3167/082279499782409451
Abstract:This paper examines a recurrent theme that emerged during the author's fieldwork among three Maasai communities in Tanzania in 1991-1993: the cultural perception on the part of many Maasai men and by some Maasai women that women are equivalent to children. In the economic and political realms, the cultural image of women as children is used as an excuse, a complaint, a rationalization and a justification by both men and women to limit women's involvement in these domains. But the image is also a product of these limiting actions: when denied economic control or political awareness and involvement, a woman is left as not much more than a child in these realms. The social actions of men and women, whereby progressive generations of men have taken over the previous rights women had in livestock; women lack direct control over land; men dominate the cultivation of cash crops; women profess ignorance of the political sphere and lack direct political representation in village government - all of these conspire to produce, perpetuate and even intensify women's structural equivalence with children. Thus the image of women as children is not just a cultural statement, but a statement of power. Bibliogr., notes, sum. in French and Spanish.