Tanzania joins the rest the world today in observing International Women’s Day. In particular, millions of Tanzanian women from all walks of life are expected join their counterparts globally to mark the event.
Whichever way the Day is celebrated, it will be to highlight the economic, political and social achievements registered by and for the benefit of women.
Women constitute over half Tanzania’s population, but most have often been left out of the country’s mainstream social and economic development.
In part, this was because it was seldom that they made their demands reach the right platforms.
The relative inability by women to capitalise on their numerical strength could be attributed to their not being sufficiently sensitised on the fact the country’s resources are meant to benefit all Tanzanians.
Therefore, their undoing could be their failure to take seriously enough the saying that in unity lies strength.
Numerous issues such as maternal health, the need to practise affirmative action in all appointments and elective positions as contained in the national gender policy, gender mainstreaming and violence against women, all f which directly affect women’s lives, are entrenched in most international protocols that Tanzania has ratified.
Yet, outdated laws, customs and practices still conspire to keep millions of women in society’s “backyard” and impinge on most of their constitutionally guaranteed rights while they also contend with various other forms of discrimination.
It is probably in response to these shortcomings that the government, which duty-bound to ensure the well-being of women in the country in the interest of the nation’s development, has been organising awareness campaigns on critical issues hampering the full participation of women in issues such as the consolidation of democratic practice.
The campaigns have paid handsome dividends by paving the way for more and more women to express their reservations over the fact that many were directly or deviously budgeted out of mainstream politics.