WOMEN in Tanzania joined their counterparts around the world in commemorating the International Women's Day last weekend.
The day falls on March 8 every year. Women all over the world complained bitterly about the crimes and violence perpetrated against them. The UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, wrote in a statement that atrocities committed against women around the world "have rightly sparked global outrage".
He mentioned atrocities that include gang rapes and outright murders. Although gang rapes and murders are not the most critical problems in Tanzania, it is apparent that most women are not accorded the societal rights they deserve. Some wives are often battered by ruthless husbands and discrimination at places of work is still rife.
It is still difficult to change the mindsets of domineering husbands in communities where wives are expected to be overly respectful and even submissive to their spouses. Nevertheless, the State and human rights activists are keen to turn the situation around. Most women employees in the country do not fair any better.
They form another crop of downtrodden people who still have a long way to go before acquiring the respect and communal rights they deserve. In fact, these women are not alone in their predicament. Most of their counterparts in the world of work are in lowly jobs earning starvation wages.
Some, like domestic workers, are in virtual servitude. Although the number of female employees in most institutions in this country is almost equal to that of their male counterparts, only a few are in decision-making positions. Most women workers hold menial jobs that do not attract good pay.
The conundrum here is that most women do not appear to command enough confidence and self-esteem. So, they remain inferior to men. Women must work hard and emancipate themselves from being vulnerable to gender stereotypes. These stereotypes are deeply embedded in the societal fabric.
This being the case, some women are affected by a lack of enthusiasm and intrusive motivation. Women must be urged to cultivate the courage to grow. Some do not bother to think wide because they were brought up believing that big-time thoughts are a preserve of men.
So, traditions in most tribal settings are partially to blame for this anomaly. It is imperative for the State to protect its female citizens. It is also imperative for us to encourage working women who have the opportunity to go up the ladder and attain decision-making positions to do so. And those at the lowest rung of the ladder should be protected from ruthless exploitation by their employers.