THE outgoing UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Alvaro Rodriguez, has called for the reform of discriminatory laws so as to support women in achieving economic transformation and sustainable development.
The call was made in Dar es Salaam over the weekend during the closing ceremony of the ‘Women, Business and Law Workshop’, jointly organized by UN Women and the World Bank (WB).
Mr Rodriguez said that, too many women and girls around the world are still affected by discriminatory laws and lack of legal protection and thus fail to engage fully in various economic activities.
“Laws reflect different standards for women and men in areas that affect their families, livelihoods, ability to participate in economic activities and decision-making in equal standing to men; And in the case of gender based violence, for their personal safety,” he said.
Mr Rodriguez stressed that, by constituting the majority of labor force, nearly 50 percent of the employed population and owning more than 64 percent of Small and Medium Enterprises in the country, women are vital to the achievement of economic transformation and sustainable development; hence, legal and regulatory frameworks must support them to be able to fulfill all those roles.
However, the out-going coordinator acknowledged that despite existing discriminatory laws and practices, Tanzania has made considerable progress and is working towards realizing global and national commitments, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Beijing Platform for Action.
He added that the Tanzanian government had put in place institutional, policy and legal frameworks in areas that include women’s access to land, justice, health care services and education, financial inclusion, political participation as well as protecting women against Gender Based Violence and exploitation.
During the workshop, Ms Paula Tavares from the WB remarked that ensuring women can equally participate in the economy was not only the right thing to do but also a manifestation of smart economics, and that was why the bank was working strategically to ensure that no one was left behind.
When women have more opportunities, not only are their rights guaranteed, but also economies do better, she said, adding : “Evidence shows that greater equality leads to greater economic growth, more representative institutions and benefits not just women, but all of society.”
Around the world, she added, countries had made significant strides in reducing the gender gap, particularly in education and health. However, gender inequality was still widespread and, in many countries, women’s productive capacity and participation was limited.