TANZANIA has done considerable efforts to promote gender equality and women development.
Gender equality means that the different behaviour, aspirations and needs of women and men are considered, valued and favoured equally.
As we commemorate the international women’s Day on Sunday to reflect on women’s achievement all over the world. It is important that we focus on women’s contribution in the agricultural sector towards efforts to transform the nation to semiindustrial economy by 2025.
Tanzania like other UN member States, is a signatory to various international (United Nations) and Regional (SADC) instruments on gender equality and women’s advancement.
These include the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, the Millennium Development Goals, the SADC Region Declaration on Gender and Development as well as Maputo Protocol (AU Protocol on women’s empowerment and gender equality).
Other are African Charter on peoples’ rights and protocol (2005), The African Platform for Action–Dakar (1994) which provides for guarantee of women to buy, sell, own, inherit and administer property. Reform of judicial system to make it responsive to gender issues, absolute right to work, and need for strengthening institutions to support and assist women in exercise of their rights.
The Constitution of Tanzania prohibits any kind of discrimination on the basis of gender, through a special amendment passed in 2000. In addition to that Gender and Women Empowerment Policy (2000) plus its implementation strategy (2005) are set to promote gender development in the country.
The National Gender Strategy is in specific terms meant to provide guidance as it outlines the gender mainstreaming for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Non-State Actors (NSA) and other stakeholders.
In this way, Tanzania has a positive and enabling environment for implementing macroeconomic planning, policy and budgeting with enhanced gender equality objectives.
Arguably both Gender and Empowerment policy and National Strategy for Gender Development (NSGD) provide directions on how gender mainstreaming is to be implemented to ensure that government policies, programmes and strategies achieve gender equality and equity.
It is also a clear indication that the government is committed to promoting gender equality. Tanzania has ratified international and regional conventions and developing gender national policy framework to ensure that women participate in social economic and political processes especially in agricultural sector.
Agriculture is a major source of employment for the rural population as well as a principal source of livelihood for the Tanzanian population whereby about 89 percent of the Tanzanian population lives in rural areas. Agriculture provides more than two-thirds of employment and almost half of Tanzania‘s GDP.
In Tanzania women comprise more than 50 per cent of the labour forces especially in agriculture which provide at least 70 per cent of the raw material needed by our industries in the country. Agriculture sector in Tanzania is both gendered and predominantly occupied by women.
The structural roles of men and women in the agricultural cycle reveal that women are more active in agriculture than men, specifically in food crop production, marketing, and processing of agricultural products.
Much has been done by the government and agricultural stakeholders to ensure that men and women are availed with agricultural resources including land, capital, credit, information, inputs (seeds, fertiliser and pesticides), radio, television, internet, mobile phones, agricultural knowledge and extension services.
The agricultural policy of 2003 (it is currently under review) has ensured that gender issues are deep seated in the implementation of agricultural programs, projects and interventions. Women contribute to the physical work involved in farm production and sustain the livelihood of most rural households in a number of ways.
They also contribute massively in raw material production for our industries. It is therefore important to make it a point that each project, program and intervention is implemented in such a way that they generate gender sensitive data to facilitate more gender responsive policies, plans and programmes in order to make women visible agricultural producers.
Lack of sufficient gender disaggregated data will result to the failure to effectively address issues faced by different social groups in Tanzania including men and women in the agricultural sector.
Gender sensitive data is important for the establishment of more gender responsive policies, plans and programmes to meet women and men needs for enhanced agricultural production and productivity for industrial economy development. @Rose George Mbezi is a gender specialist based in Dar es Salaam