A situational analysis of institutional intersectionality and violence against women in Dar es Salaam
Violence against women (VAW) knows no demographic boundaries, is one of the most oppressive forms of gender inequality, and is recognized by some as an impediment to the social and economic development of under-resourced communities. Tanzanian leaders’ goal of achieving middle-income status by 2025 is reviewed against the institutional policies and practices designed to address the violence women of Dar es Salaam experience and ask if VAW is a serious threat to Tanzania’s achievement of middle-income status? This question was answered by conducting a situational analysis of the international, regional, national, and local actors and their engagement with customary and statutory laws, human rights instruments, judicial activities, donor relationships, and NGO-driven activism. Large scale events like the annual “16 Days of Activism against Violence Against Women” (16 Days) and TGNP’s bi¬annual Gender Festival provided opportunities to collect data from local activities and policy discussions for addressing VAW in Dar es Salaam. Subsequent interviews and conversations with respondents, reviews of government and I/NGO reports, data from the 2015 presidential election, and legal decisions from the High Court further augmented the initial data collection. This research highlighted these key findings: (1) there is a dearth of research on the applicability of intersectionality methods and theory to institutions and organizations generally and in Tanzania specifically; (2) customary laws and traditions impact international and national laws beyond rural concerns and impedes progressive law reform as it is still filtered through culture and customs; (3) VAW remains firmly entrenched in familiar, community, and political systems that were built on patriarchal (and postcolonial) foundations; and (4) efforts to achieve middle-income status continue apart from the need to address VAW and other adverse consequences of a society still influenced by customary laws and traditions derived from patriarchal systems.