Three key messages for promoting women and girls’ leadership from Tanzania

UNESCO in Tanzania celebrated women and girls’ leadership for an equal future in commemoration of the 2021 International Women’s Day in Pemba, Zanzibar and Sengerema, Mwanza. More than 250 people participated including youth, governmental officials, community members and leaders, teachers. They shared key messages for promoting women and girls’ leadership: Be the change-makers, let’s speak out, and let’s share with others.

Be the change makers

The Sengerema District Election Officer, Ms. Ashura Kajuna, as a woman leader herself, inspired girls and young women not to be afraid to compete for gaining leadership positions so that they can influence decisions that empower women and create a desired equal future.

For a long time, we have been complaining about the limited support to create a conducive environment for equal participation of women in elections. Now we are leaders and the opportunities exist. However, women need to be self-motivated to run for those positions in the election. I am encouraging you to be self-motivated. Don't wait for a better environment than this, instead, we should create them
Ms. Ashura Kajuna, Sengerema District Election Officer

Let’s speak out

Ms Zuhura Juma Said, a journalist from Pemba explained that, it is very sensitive to report violence against women and children because survivors might be stigmatized and be more vulnerable. They often have to be separated from the family. The worst thing is that even though the case is opened up, perpetrators are only sentenced far shorter term than how the laws regulated.

However, it is imperative to break the culture of silence as journalists so that, for instance, girls’ education is supported in a safe learning environment.
Mr Ali Mbarouk Omar, Pemba Press Club

Let’s share the experience with others

A secondary school student, Fatma, is a leader of her youth club, Safe Space-TUSEME Club (Let’s speak out in Swahili). The club was established in 2019 under the KOICA-funded UN Joint Programme, ‘Empowering Adolescent Girls and Young Women through Education in Tanzania’. A mother of three kids, another Fatma, empowers her friends. “I share what I've learned from the UNESCO project such as beauty and entrepreneurship skills with my friends. I am now working as a henna artist and I have encouraged my friends who have now started similar business.” 

We gained confidence to speak out. We are sharing our experience with other school clubs to speak out, ask for help to solve problems we face.
Fatma, a leader of her youth club, Safe Space-TUSEME Club

In Tanzania, gender equality remains a huge barrier to development. Tanzania ranked 163 out of 189 countries in UNDP’s Human Development Index in 2020. According to the same index, only 12% of female aged 25 and older have at least some secondary education while 17% of male have secondary education. Regarding employment, 80% of women are participating income-generating activities whereas 87% of the male are participating. In 2020, female members of parliament were only 126 among 393 seats.  

The challenges faced by women and girls to achieve their potential in life, emanate from various barriers , ranging from less conducive learning environment, vulnerability to violence against women and children and early marriages. The Tanzania government, however, is driving the National Development Vision 2025 to ensure gender equality and the empowerment of women in all socio-economic and political aspects by 2025. Nonetheless, more effort is still needed to create gender awareness and eliminate barriers to gender equality at the community, local and regional levels.

UNESCO in collaboration with the Tanzania Government supports women and girls’ empowerment in various sectors such as education and communication and information so that women and girls can fulfil their full potential for successful integration in society.

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