LAST month, a unique meeting took place in Dodoma that had never occurred in the country with the realization that women are not only a force to reckon with in development of the country, but also have the capacity to deliver. Gracing the meeting, President Samia Suluhu Hassan told the participants, who were women that they should not remain behind, just because of their biological creation, because what matters at the end of the day is delivery on merit.
Looked at keenly, women deserve support and not segregation because in any fast analysis, they reinvest 90 percent of their income into the family in comparison to 30 to 40 percent by men.
This means women spend more on their children—food, shelter, and education—which creates long-term social and economic gains for their communities. This makes them an integral part of ending the cycle of poverty.
In fact, if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farm by 20 to 30 percent.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations- a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security, if women in rural areas had access to the same technology, financial services, education, and market as men, they could increase agricultural production to feed up to 150 million hungry people.
In fact, if politics and unverified opinions are put aside, women’s empowerment can change the world and to revisit Eleanor Roosevelt’s quotation: “A woman is like a tea bag - you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” Making that reference, President Samia was precise when she said a woman’s true strength comes to the surface when she gets into hot water (read an opportunity) and then you’ll see her real strength coming out.
No wonder sensitive area like health ministry is trusted to them. It should be noted that all people, in all their diversity, should be free to live their chosen life, thrive socially and economically, participate and take a lead as equals. Equally, we should realize that women and girls are key agents of development and change.
Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is vital to building fair, inclusive, prosperous and peaceful societies everywhere.