Ideologies of Sexuality, Menstruation and Risk: Girls’ Experiences of Puberty and Schooling in Northern Tanzania

Abstract: This paper examines girls' voiced experiences of menstruation, puberty and schooling in northern Tanzania. The study was conducted in Moshi and Rombo Districts of Kilimanjaro, a predominantly Chagga region with historically strong support for girls' education. The major question explored was how the onset of menses and puberty may be impacting on girls' school participation, given societal implications of pubertal onset and potentially gender discriminatory school environments. The methodology included a comparative case study using in-depth interviews and participatory research with young women living in urban and rural Kilimanjaro. Along with important findings about how menstrual onset creates challenges for girls attending school emerged findings about the significant gaps in girls' knowledge about body changes, sexual health and HIV/AIDS. These findings underline the importance of identifying new girl-centred approaches to guidance on bodily development and HIV prevention.

Year: 
2009
Organization: 
Culture, Health & Sexuality: An International Journal for Research, Intervention and Care
Languages: 
English
Author(s): 
Sommer M