Tanzania: Call for strengthened efforts to achieve gender equality

Tanzania: Call for strengthened efforts to achieve gender equality

Date: June 10, 2015
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Dar es Salaam, 10 June: Delegates at the third Tanzania SADC Gender Summit have noted that while there are notable achievements in the struggle to attain gender equality in Tanzania, women are still underrepresented in political party leadership and struggle to access resources and education.

The Tanzania summit got off to a vibrant start at the New Africa Hotel in Dar es Salaam as close to 60 delegates gathered to share good practice and take stock of progress in gender achieving gender equality. Tanzania signed the SADC Gender Protocol in 2008 and ratified it in February 2010. The Protocol calls for the equal representation of women and men in all areas of decision-making.

Ernest Zayumba delivered a speech on behalf of the Minister of Community Development, Gender and Children, Sofia Simba. He observed that political parties play a significant role in determining women’s role in politics. This observation comes just a few months before the country’s next general elections in October 2015.

Zayumba says that there is still unequal representation in the leaderships of the political parties whereby many top posts are dominated by men. “There is no political party in the country that has attained gender equality in the party top national leadership cadres,” he added. Simba has added that women in the country are still underrepresented and play a minimal role in politics both in local and central government.

“Statistics shows that during the 2010 General Election, women were excluded from top leadership of all 21 political parties in Tanzania particularly from posts of chairperson and General Secretary.

Tanzania reintroduced the multiparty system in 1992, and so far has 22 registered political parties in which very few women hold top leadership positions. The few women include Anna Mughwira as the first chairperson of Alliance for Changes and Transparency (ACT) and Magdalena Sakaya as the Mainland Deputy General Secretary for Civic United Front (CUF).

Although women are still below the required 50% in the SADC Gender Protocol, Simba noted that there has been a steady increase in the proportion of women in parliament. Parliament is the highest decision-making platform in the country. Article 47 of the proposed constitution addresses gender equality as it focuses on women rights to participate in politics, without discrimination, as well as equal opportunities in employment, right to maternal health, access to land and other resources.

“The number of women in the Parliament has increased from 31% in 2009 and 2010 to 36% in 2012 and 2013 while in the cabinet the numbers of women ministers has increased from 6 ministers in 2009 to 10 in 2013,” said Simba.

Speaking about education, Simba noted that there has been a decease in the proportion of girls in secondary schools and universities in the country. Girls are better represented in primary school. “In Secondary schools the proportion of women is 13% below men’s proportion which is 15.6% while in the university 1.7% is of women and men is 2.9%,” said Simba.

The keynote speaker Professor Bertha Koda, a lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam and a gender activist, applauded the fact that women now have access to financial resources and facilities. She cited Tanzania Women Bank and the Women Development Bank as institutions that have provided a lifeline for women in Tanzania. Koda noted that without financial resources it is hard to change the lot of women.

Koda also noted that despite the abundant water in Tanzania, women in remote areas still spend long hours and travel long distances to fetch water. Such challenges affect women’s ability to participate meaningfully in in other income generating activities. “In Tanzania there is abundant of water resources but still there is a shortage of water which makes women spend almost 8 hours a day searching for water something that makes them unable to participate in other economic activities,” said Professor Koda.

Summit participants also noted that the media can play a key role in profiling the positive gains the country has made as well as highlighting the challenges and strategies to take the country forward.

The participant presentations continue today, and judges will the tally up the final scores to establish the winners of this year’s Summit. Gender Links and the Alliance will then award the gender champions for their work in advancing gender equality.

This article is part of the Gender Links News Service special coverage of the SADC Gender Protocol Summits underway across the region, offering fresh views on everyday news.




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