Women in leadership_ The Guardian Limited_ 28 December 2015

Date: December 28, 2015
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Name of the story: Women in leadership

Name of the media house: The Guardian Limited

Country: Tanzania

GEM Classification: Gender aware


Brief description of the item of work you submitted and motivation of why it is a good example of gender awareness and sensitivity in advancing gender equality Post-2015.

This article proves the best practice resulted from proper education, knowledge and sensitisation imparted to the community, purposely to change people’s mind set on women in leadership.

It was due to the last year’s general election, where by two women, Ester Matiko (Tarime Urban constituency) and Esther Bulaya (Bunda) made a history for not only elected Member of Parliament (MP) through the opposition party, but also be elected in the community, which leads in both gender discrimination in public leadership, and gender based violence (GBV).

Women in Mara region have been discriminated from the family to the community level, they have no access or right to rise up their voices before men and if happened, they (women) were bitten, injured of tortured to death.

However, Esther Bulaya, formally being a member of the ruling party, quitted to join the opposition and contested against the ‘giant’ politician who had been in public leadership since 1961, Stephen Masatu Wasira and won at a very big margin.

Since the country got its independence in October 9, 1961, the Bunda and Tarime Urban constituencies had never ever had a Member of Parliament (elect) be a woman.

Before the election and during general election campaigns, there were numerous campaigns conducted by different stakeholders educating, sensitizing people (voter) and caution not to elect people because of their gender or any other factors, but considering his or her ability to lead and represent the entire community.

Through this educational approach, people who were under the ignorance of thinking women can never represent or be a public leader in Bunda and Tarime Urban had changed their mind-set and finally, elected two female MPS.

Therefore, the victory of Esther Bulaya and Esther Matiko has proved that if people were empowered, can make a tremendous change and informed choices.


Why did you produce the story? What problem or context is it responding to?

I have decided to produce this story because the war against gender discrimination in public leadership has been there for a long time while people did not observe any tremendous changes.

In this case, apart from various stakeholders designed and conducted different programs and project to bring positive changes in decades, the outcomes had not achieved and therefore the problems remained or sometimes increased.

Nevertheless, when the two women from the community well known, lead and practice gender discrimination and gender based violence contested within the patrilineal community and won, it was for me, a good story that can sensitize and accelerate changes in people’s mind set from ignoring to recognise the women’s participation in leadership.

This was because, whenever media in Tanzania reports negative aspects concerning the women in leadership, the entire society maintain it as ‘business as usual’ and therefore didn’t see or create any room for them (women) to prove that if given chances, they can lead.

So by looking at, I came to realize that it’s not only about media reporting on negative issues that affecting the women’s participation in leadership, but also the best practice stories can be used as the tool to bring positive changes.

Key objectives

What did you hope to achieve with this coverage?

This coverage by its nature was to prove that changing mind set of people and empower them to make an informed choice can be done.

My expectation, among other things was to prove that women have ability and chances to lead. They need to have plans, develop a good strategy and be ready to take any risk. There is no way that one can stop them from being elected, instead of waiting and scrabbling for special seats in parliament.

However, the article aims to encourage other young women to have courage, come up and contest for any public leadership position.

Target audience

Whom did you hope to reach? Did you succeed in reaching this audience? What evidence do you have to that effect?

While I was writing this article, I really expected to reach the women especially the young ones as my primary target. This was because the statistics and other reports including from media outlets show that young women were leading to go back, afraid to join the rally in seeking leadership and representation, being Members of Parliament of Ward Counsellors.

This target have been reached as I have received number of calls from different young women in different regions countrywide, congratulating me for exposing how the two ladies managed to penetrate within the society which was characterized by gender discrimination and gender based violence, finally won the elections.

Although it is currently difficult to retrieve the record, most of the positive feedback from my audience were through the calls and SMS which later on, and for not thinking that it could not be needed, I had deleted them.

How did you go about researching and writing the story?

How did you gather the data, how many sources, female and male did you consult? Why did you choose these sources and how were their voices important?

Before writing this article, I did a research through reading media reports, research findings, documents, on line sources and government announcement, whereby I proved that Mara region was among the top three regions in the country affected by gender based violence and gender discrimination.

After collecting data, I pointed out credible sources that could make my article to have a human face, interesting and for public interest. Among my sources were the female MPs who disclosed the difficulties journey until they managed to win elections.

I interviewed three females and three males including the community leaders and residents who proved that the results had big impacts to their lives and for the young girls in particular.


What impact did it have? What evidence do you have to illustrate impact?

Please provide any examples of feedback that you received from the articles (from websites, letters, etc.)

The major ways/tools to receive feedback from my readers (as per Tanzania cultural aspects) were through calls (phones) and SMS. In addition, as I stated above, unfortunately these evidence has no longer with me as I deleted them to give space to my phone. I did not know it would be needed.

Follow up

How would you conduct a follow up to your story and why?

As other storytelling, my article on gender in leadership has proved to attract many young people and women in particular to participate in leadership at different levels. I have developed number of sources through this article who are still engaging me in their activities, for example meetings, seminars and workshops on women in leadership.

For this matter, I will use these forums to make a follow up on how both women and other members of communities are sensitised to increase number of female leaders. However, as I am in contacts with the two elected female MPs, I will make follow what they deliver to their people and report in such a way that will create confidence and rooms for more women to engage in leadership. Click here to read full story.