This paper applies intersectionality theories to investigate how informal social relations factors in terms of age and gender interact to affect people’s access to river basin resources (RBR) in Tanzania. Access to RBR is defined as practical rights to use RBR and benefits that are accrued from the use of RBR. Data were collected from a survey conducted among households living along the Kilombero River in Tanzania. Three villages that differ in cultural backgrounds i.e. a fishing community, an agro-pastoralist community and a village with people from multi-cultural groups were included in the survey. A multivariate probit model is used to determine access in terms of practical rights to use RBR, and a generalized ordered logit model is used to determine access in terms of benefits from the use of RBR. Findings show that both practical rights to use RBR and benefits from the use of resources are highly gendered, though their impact differs according to age groups and cultural groups. One common feature in all cultural groups is that the norms that deny women rights to use RBR result in a gendered distribution of labour, especially when access to RBR leads to income-generating activities. The findings also highlight that women are less likely to benefit from the use of resources. Within a single cultural group, a fishing community, the study found that benefits from the use of RBR vary according to age. In line with intersectionality theories, we conclude that, both men and women are heterogeneous groups in societies. While it is generally perceived that women in rural areas are the victims of norms that deny their development, this is not the case for all women. Findings also reveal the importance of distinguishing between practical rights to use resources and benefits derived from their use.
Key words: River Basins Resources, access to river basin resources, practical rights to use resources, ability to benefit from resources, gender, intersectionality