Women in politics – The Express

Date: April 13, 2011
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Description: Patriarchy, according to this article, remains unchallenged and is deeply rooted in Tanzania, perpetuating gender inequality in all spheres of life. Political power continues to be elusive to women as long as traditional practice remains alive. While numbers do no guarantee gender equality, adjusting the gender balance in politics is a first step.

This gender-specific article takes a holistic look at the causes of women’s underrepresentation in politics and other decision-making positions in the country. It looks at patriarchy as a contributory factor to lack of women’s empowerment. The article probes patriarchy, arguing that it perpetuates social and economic inequalities between women and men and girls and boys.  

The obstacles that hinder women’s advancement in the public and private sector are explored in detail. Influential positions in government and private sectors are held by men who are guided by patriarchy and gender stereotypes in deciding who to appoint, promote or grant benefits to.

Political parties are guided by traditional beliefs and practice, making it difficult for women politicians to penetrate and/or hold influential positions. The article makes use of valuable data to further elaborate on the lack of progress in gender parity on the political front. For example the number of women MPs has grown at a snail’s pace from six in 1961 to 61 in 2000 compared to their male counterparts: Male MPs increased from 74 to 219 in the same period.

Indeed, gender stereotypes and the power men wield over women not only stops them from vying for political positions, but also affects their independence in voting during elections.

Women are the main suppliers of labour. They generate income and yet have little voice in decision-making processes.  

Socio-economic barriers stunt women’s access to wealth generation. Such opportunities are more available to men. Gender stereotypes perpetuate the role of women as home-makers and places the brakes on their development outside of the household, the article notes.

The article has managed to diagnose and analyse the problem of low representation of women in politics. It is well-researched and provides a powerful insight into what ails women and politics in Tanzania.

Sources used in this article include advocacy groups and these voices offer fresh perspective and challenge stereotypes. They bring critical information and analysis to life in Tanzania. The sources provide a conceptual framework for gender analysis and action.

The headline is balanced and images accompanying the article profile several women in action and showcase them as drivers, strong leaders and energetic.

Visual Images
The visuals showcase women in positive leadership roles able to balance the skew in power. The article has transformative value.  

This feature article appearing on page 21 of the paper is allocated a whole page. This gives it prominence given that it is buried deep in the newspaper. Articles like this can still be missed since readers tend to read the first few pages of the paper diligently and then scan through the rest of the paper. However, hopefully because it occupies the whole page its chances of being read widely are increased.

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