Launch of report "Enhancing gender equity: Gender profile of Tanzania"

This was launched at a ceremony in Dar es Salaam on March 7, 2007 at the TGNP Halls. The profile is produced by the Tanzania Gender Networking Programme, TGNP, on behalf of the Swedish Embassy. The report provides updated data in several gender related areas and describes the situation for different groups of women and men in Tanzania. Furthermore, the profile outlines advances and policies implemented during the last years. The report provides insights on the way that individuals and organizations are meeting the challenges of mainstreaming gender and promoting gender equality within developmental issues and challenges that are faced by national and local leaders, civil society organizations, the private sector and the men and women in urban and rural communities.

The report looks at the Policy and Strategic Frameworks of Tanzania that are of relevant to gender equity. These are the international agreements, overall national development level, the national gender specific policy and the different sector policies. The following is a break down of the chapters and their contents.

Chapter 1: The Context

Chapter 1 has the overall status of women in Tanzania, the increase in awareness of the linkages between gender equality and development and the need to look at women’s equity issues from a human rights perspective. The Methodology for the Country Profile is mentioned, the Conceptual Framework that was adopted and the set of questions that were devised to facilitate the framework.

Chapter 2: Policy and Institutional Framework for Promoting Gender Equity

This chapter discusses the current policies and institutional framework with a critique from a gender perspective and sector policies and strategies that have been formulated. The chapter also highlights the overview and critique of the institutional framework for promoting gender equity at national and sub-national levels and the role of the civil society organizations with the framework.

Chapter 3: Economic Environment and Urban and Water and Rural Livelihoods

This chapter looks at the Economic Environment and Urban and Water and Rural Livelihoods. “The employment of men and women is guided by the Employment Policy which was passed in 1997. It defines employment as any type of work which enables an individual to generate an income to sustain life. This definition excludes those activities that are carried out at the household sphere which do not generate income directly, but which are necessary for the sustenance and reproduction of human resources.” From a gender perspective, rural livelihoods based on subsistence agriculture are characterized by Poor returns to agricultural work; Gender division of labour; Struggles over the control of the labour product; Insecurities related to ownership of land in spite of the Amendment (2004); Customary laws and practices that prevent women from obtaining their rights to inheritance.

Chapter 4: The Socio-Economic Situation and Well Being of Women

The chapter highlights the demographic characteristics of the Tanzanian population; Poverty and Aspects of impoverishment. With regard to Access to Basic Social Services, a sample survey of 650 men and 650 women revealed that “people were satisfied with access to education even though quality was questionable. They were less satisfied with health and water, especially in the rural areas. Women’s reproductive health rights, which are seemingly not me, are in terms of (i) inadequate access to reproductive care and family planning (ii) restrictions on the ability of women to obtain an abortion in the case of rape (iii) greater risk to infections of HIV (iv) sexual violence against women and girls including rape, FGM, and domestic violence (v) unequal relations within the family leading to marital rape (vi) very earl marriages of girls and (vii) inadequate access to sexual education”

Chapter 5: Socio-Cultural Situation

Traditions, Religion and Customs contribute to the unequal gender roles where men are seen as the dominant figure and women as the inferior parties. Some specific manifestations of male dominant social relations are manifested through the Situation of Widows, the Unequal Gender Division of Labour, Female Genital Mutilation, Bride Price and Early Marriages. Some progress has been made in trying to change the negative aspects of customs and traditions.

Chapter 6: Legal and Human Rights

The Bills of Rights which was passed in 1984 states that human rights shall be preserved and upheld in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Currently, the legal system in Tanzania consists of customary, religious and statutory law. The co-existence of these different laws without making the appropriate amendments to existing laws, often contribute greatly to towards the denial of women’s rights in Tanzania in spite of other good policies and laws. Some of the laws include the Sexual Offences (Special Provision) Act, 1998, The Land Act of 1999 and the Village Act of 1999, The Marriage Act, 1971.

Chapter 7: Political Situation

The chapter underscores the representation of women in politics and decision making with regard to the National Assembly, Local Councils, Public Service Management, Local Government level and Participation in political processes. The chapter ends by giving reasons for the continued low participation of women in politics and administration.

Chapter 8: The Image of Women in the Media

There has been a growth in the use of radio and electronic information and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as mobile phones and the internet. In a recent study conducted in Tanzania, “The Economic Impact of Telecommunications on Rural Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction, DFiD 2005”, it was found that, although the use of face to face communication had reduced, it was more significant with men. This signified that women still have lesser access to alternative means of communication.

Chapter 9: The Girl Child in Tanzania

“The girl child is born of a woman who in many cases was still a girl child. She is socialized at a very early age into believing that she is somehow inferior, that her position and her chances and opportunities in life can never be the same as that of her brother. She is a transient in the home of her biological family and when she gets married she will also be a transient in the family of her husband”

Chapter 10: Key Challenges and Opportunities

This chapter highlights achievements that have been attained so far in improving the status of girls and women status – education, health, decision making and participation in the local economy. Policies and strategies have provided an enabling environment. Challenges still exist though. These include are under the clusters of Social Transformation of Gender Relations and Women’s Empowerment; Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Budgeting as gender mainstreaming is not internalized within many of the MDAs; Implementation , Monitoring and Evaluation of the related policies; Persistence of Patriarchal Values, Attitudes and Practices; Eliminating Gender Based Violence; Confusion over the Legal Status of Women’s Rights to Property; Striking a Balance between Equity and Sustainability, etc.