She gave the statement here yesterday when launching the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) Tanzania, coordinated by UN Women.
She said women should insert the agenda in party election manifestos for election campaigns.
“Let me tell you a secret – as of now political parties are in the process of formulating their election manifestos so it is better for women to stand firm to ensure they insert the 50-50 agenda,” the VP declared.
She appealed to women to step up in big numbers to seek leadership posts in various fields - including politics, business, social services and civil societies. Many countries have not attained gender equality in many fields including top leadership of public organizations, she told participants.
“This situation also touches Tanzania even though to a large extent we are doing better compared to many other countries in the African continent – we have 126 women MPs out of 393 or 36.7 percent, while in the Zanzibar House of Representatives it is 38 per cent, higher than the 30 percent average set by SADC countries.
In the Judiciary the percentage of women judges in the High Court is 30 while in the Court of Appeal it is 38. In the cabinet of ministers, women make up 18 percent while for women deputy ministers it is 33 percent.
“For the first time the post of Union Vice President is held by a woman. From the given statistics, you will see that we have not been able to attain gender equality to a large measure,” she stated.
The population census shows that the women population is bigger than men, therefore if women cooperate well and trust each other, they can uplift the gender ratio, she emphasized.
Research shows that having more women in political leadership has been contributed by improvements in policy, laws and the budget, she said.
“It has also been found that having more women in managing corporations in the private sector has assisted in business growth owing to a combination of special expertise, trustworthiness and diligence,” the VP intoned.
She called upon the network to enable young women to learn to work hard to bring positive changes in their areas of responsibility, urging men to be tolerant to women.
“We are women. Our lives are surrounded by many issues - children, husband, mother and leader. The truth is we cannot do all those on our own - we cannot do justice and be accountable to everyone depending on us. As the victims are men, be tolerant and kind,” she told the gathering.
Dr John Jingu, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health said the government has implemented various programmes to enable women.
Conveying greetings from the embassy of Germany, the head of Zonal Cooperation Norzin Grigoleit-Dagyab said Tanzania has made great strides in gender equality. Establishing the network will bring positive achievements, she stated.
Norwegian Ambassador Elizabeth Jacobsen said on her part that she believes the network will be a voice for women, adding an aspect of Norwegian assistance to Tanzania on women issues.
Swedish Ambassador Anders Sjoberg said the issue of gender equality is a war that needs cooperation to tackle and remove obstacles to arrive at gender equality.