Discard oppressive cultural practices, women urged

By Beverline Lenku
and Philip Tianda

Maasai women have made significant progress in fighting oppressive cultural practices, Loodokilani Women Network Chairlady Konina Tarayia has said.
She said she was happy and encouraged by the progress, adding that the cultural practices have been a major drawback on women’s advancement in politics and other spheres of leadership.
Mrs Tarayia who was speaking during the Women International Day celebrations at Oloontoi Village in Kajiado West Sub-county, said women from the Maasai community have come a long way and are now asserting themselves in the political, social and economic world.
Tarayia leads a powerful women’s group that is known for its advocacy of women rights in the county especially in Loodokilani, She was accompanied by other women leaders among them Alice Tipapusha, Maren Richard and Nosim Women Organization representative Joseph Kasere.
“In the past we were simply meant for our small rural homes. And even in these homes, all decisions were made by the men,” noted Tarayia.
She challenged women in villages to form groups and apply funds from the County affirmative action office to initiate projects.
According to Tipapusha, many Maasai women in rural villages can do better in managing resources even than men if given an opportunity to do so.
“We want our mamas in villages to form groups, work hard and get their own monies because we know women are the better managers than men,” she said.
Her group, which is known for fighting FGM in the region, has been a strong defender of women’s rights and girl-child education. Tipapusha denounced cultural practices like female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriages which are major hindrances in girls’ education in the region.
“The transition rate from primary to secondary schools for girls in Kajiado West is among the lowest in the county,” she observed.
Action Aid development facilitator, Isaac Kakeni, said women in Maasai land have a long way to in the fight against retrogressive cultural practices.

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