The Pastoral Women’s Council of Tanzania was founded to conceive and implement long-term structural solutions for the poverty and marginalisation of Maasai pastoralist women and children. PWC is women-led and encourages other Maasai women to openly discuss the positive and negative aspects of Maasai culture, to act on their findings, and to mobilise local efforts and resources. There is no other organisation in Tanzania that is solely focused on reducing inequalities and promoting justice for Maasai women and children. PWC works to address three key problems facing Maasai women:
Lack of education for Maasai girls. Normally Maasai women are expected to concentrate on building and repairing houses, fetching firewood and water, and milking animals, as well as raising and feeding children and cooking for the male family members. The lack of educated and professional Maasai women to fight for gender equality and against patriarchal household structures is therefore self-perpetuating.
Lack of financial independence and property ownership rights. Lack of financial assets and resources deprive women of the right to access basic needs such as health care, a balanced diet for them and their family, clothing, shelter and educational opportunities for their children.
Lack of participation in local leadership structures. Traditionally, Maasai women are not allowed to speak in public/community meetings or participate in decisions. As a result, community agendas are determined by men and issues of concern to women, such as domestic violence, forced marriage, women’s property rights and HIV/AIDS are not given appropriate attention or priority.