She made the remarks yesterday in Dar es Salaam when speaking at the 8th annual Canada-Tanzania Forum on corporate social responsibility (CSR), organised by HakiRasilimali.
O’Donnell said that Tanzanian women and girls remain among the most marginalised and underutilised citizens in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to her, women are more likely than men to be poor and illiterate and less likely to have access to trainings and credits but yet are the main care givers in many households.
“Research has shown that when more women work, economies grow. A 2015 global study found that U$12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. Women’s economic equality is good for business,” the envoy said.
She asserted that women’s economic empowerment boosts productivity, increases economic diversification and income equality in addition to other positive development outcomes. Companies can benefit from increasing employment and leadership opportunities for women, which is shown to increase organizational effectiveness and growth.
She underlined that companies with three or more women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organisational performance.
“Apart from employment, there are many ways in which women can contribute value to businesses. Women can contribute to each link of the businesses value chain, as suppliers, leaders, customers, brand creators and community members;
Now is the time to rise to the great challenges of our time. Together, we have a collective responsibility to promote women empowerment” she said.
John Mnali, Director of Investment Promotion at Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) said that that to promote women’s empowerment along the value chain, the private and the public sector both have to invest in women funding.
“My office understands that more interventions are required to improve women’s participation in the private sector. We also recognise that corporate social responsibility programmes are an important mechanism for companies to contribute towards women empowerment,” he said.
Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Director of Membership Services, Louis Accaro, said that women are making waves in the world of business and the private sector has enhanced and can still enhance participation of women in their value chain.
“Women and CSR go hand in hand and we continue to see collaboration around CSR programmes, with different initiatives. We encourage enacting of policies within organizations to allow more participation of women” said Accaro.