Women and Political Leadership: Facilitating Factors in Tanzania

Based on a women and empowerment framework, this study used a life history approach to identify the factors in their life cycle that influenced and helped women during their journey to political empowerment in Tanzania. Twenty women shared with the authors their lived experiences of this journey. This study shows that parents, particularly fathers, played a central role in their empowerment, either by investing in their daughters’ education or by inspiring them and serving as role models to them. Further, most of the women interviewed indicated that their spouses supported their leadership journey by providing emotional support and the financial resources needed, and by helping them to maintain a family-work balance. This study recommends collaboration and coordination among key institutions to provide the research, training, mentoring and education needed to nurture and promote women’s leadership in their chosen areas of influence.