Despite the measures progress, the number of Women participating in Politics and decision making in Tanzania is still low compared to that of men. Tanzania being a patriarchal society, the task of decision making is still predominantly a male task as allocated by the social system and structures that govern it.
This upward improvement is mainly attributed to:
- The increasing awareness among women of their political rights and potentials in contributing to the development process.
- The affirmative action taken by the Government to counter the factors also greatly contributed to drawing more women into high level positions of Governance and Administration.
Tanzania is the only country in East Africa which had a women President. However, it has been argued that despite affirmative action that has increased women’s numbers in decision-making positions, women have not been very effective so as to influence change for betterment of their women folk.
In a meeting at the State house with the Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women, Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on Strengthening Partnerships ahead of the Generation Equality Forum, President Samia expressed her commitment to fulfilling the vision outlined in the Beijing Declaration and attain the targets for 50/50 gender parity in leadership. She further admitted that while Tanzania is far from attaining the 50/50 targets, she will work towards achieving this goal during her leadership. She also offered to lead the Economic Justice and Rights Action Coalition ahead of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris starting on 30th June 2021.
She re-emphasized this commitment when addressing the Women of Tanzania, on 6th June 2021, by assuring them that she believes in gender equality principles, is committed to ensuring that women’s rights are respected, and that she will appoint (qualified) women to take up leadership positions.
The President further acknowledged that her current position has resulted from long term struggles by women in demanding participation in leadership positions including top level leadership. She further admitted the multiple barriers which women face in attaining economic empowerment. In this area, she committed to task responsible agencies to ensure women’s access to loans including the mandatory allocation of 4% of local government funds, as well as soliciting formal banks to open windows for soft loans for women.
The current composition of the leadership which she nominated includes two categories of leadership which nearly attained the threshold of 50/50, that is Regional Administrative Officers of whom 46% are women; and Judges, of whom 43% are women. Other than the two categories of leadership which nearly reached the Maputo Protocol and AU Solemn Declaration of 50%; her other appointees so far, (except for DCs) have not reached the minimum benchmark of the SADC Declaration of 30% which was later updated by the Maputo Declaration into the 50/50 benchmark. For example, out of the 23 Cabinet Ministers, only 5 female full ministers (22%, a decline from 30% in 2012); out of the 26 Deputy Ministers, only 6 (23%) are females; out of 24 Permanent Secretaries, only 4 (16%) are females and out of 24 Deputy Permanent Secretaries only 5 (21%), Out of 26 Regional Commissioners,5 (19%) are females. Out of the 139 District Commissioners, only 44 (32%) were women. The District Commissioners had a good mix of young people who were composed of 28% males and 20% females (these were under the age of 35).