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More women needed at decision-making levels

THE 2015 General Elections showed that there were more women who had emerged for leadership positions compared to the year 2010.

This situation showed that there was presence of gender equality in the community, and especially in rural areas where women emerged to contest and particularly at the level of councillor posts.

As we now move to the local government elections later this year, the leadership positions of women in the community should be taken seriously, as women are actively contributing to economic development in different areas.

Grace Kisetu from TGNP Mtandao says that there is a need now to put strategies in place, to ensure that women take leadership positions in various areas in the community, and also participate in various decision-making positions.

“It is not only in politics, but also in different areas where women are involved in various socioeconomic and development areas. When a woman is given a leadership position, her roles contribute to bringing justice and equality in society,” she says.

According to this gender specialist, the participation of women in leadership helps them to make decisions at all levels, starting from the family where the society is improved, and women stand at the forefront of serving their families.

TGNP Mtandao is currently working in Kasulu District (Kigoma), Uyui (Tabora), Tarime (Mara), Kishapu (Shinyanga) and Simiyu Region where the community has been deeply rooted in recognising the importance of having women in leadership at different decisionmaking levels.

When women are involved in leadership and later in decisionmaking in the community, says Kisetu, it helps them to provide great influence, which at the end of the day helps the community in providing quality services in the fields of education, health, and equality and equity.

“A female student who has been well prepared to be a leader can be a catalyst for her colleagues, as she can educate the community on how best to use available resources in the area in the development of a particular household,” she says.

TGNP Mtandao in conjunction with Tanzania Women’s Fund (WFT) have had joint efforts to ensure that there are strategies that are put in place for women to participate in leadership positions to enable them enter the level of decision making at leadership posts.

In various established groups, the chairperson, secretary, and various group leaders must ensure that women are given leadership positions as they are the major stakeholders in the community.

Women at some level of leadership have a better chance of discussing the traditional practices that continue to humiliate women, and together with men, these traditions can be fought and completely eradicated in society.

Kisetu insists that women have the right to own land and any other property that is defined by the law of the land, thus fighting all laws which do not grant women equal rights with their male counterparts.

“The right to ownership includes rights to own property, acquisition (through purchase, gift or inheritance), manage, dispose of and sell movable and immovable property with land, houses, money, bank accounts and other assets such as livestock and crops,” says Kisetu.

She insists that property rights for women improve gender equality which leads to social development as a whole.

The lack of these rights, says Kisetu, leads to women humiliation which render them incapable of providing different needs to their children and other dependants in their homes.

As explained by the World Bank often, countries with nonequality laws are also unfair and equitable in property ownership.

The right to property for women is important as it gives women the economic protection, social status and legal status and thus can remain.

Ownership of property and land enables women to help them earn income and economic protection.

Without the right to ownership, women lack the say in home decisions, and lack their rights in a crisis situation such as divorce or death of a husband or any other controversial situation. Lack of ownership rights also leads to family and social conflicts says Kisetu.

Under the International Law, women, like men, have the same right to own property and these rights are movable and immovable (or obstructed) property.

Kisetu says in various areas, property rights for women are prohibited by customs, customs, religions, cultures, social norms and laws.

“As with other human rights issues, women’s rights to property are associated with stigmatidsation activities, agriculture, gender mainstreaming in economic resources, right to work and financing.

Something should be done about this situation,” she says. Now there is a need to give women equal rights to inherit properties by fighting discrimination against them, reducing family conflicts and any other form of humiliation which makes them inferior in the society.

The international human rights laws call upon the society to protect women and make sure that women have the equal rights just like men.

TGNP Mtandao Executive Director Ms Lilian Liundi always insists that her office will always make sure that there are more trained people in society who will be fighting for the equal rights of women in society, and make sure that they equally participate in the making sure that women have their voices at decision-making levels.

It is through such practices that there shall be gender balance in society and make both men and women enjoy the available resources.

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Author: DEO MUSHI

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