WOMEN journalists in Coast Region have been urged to be involved in empowering women economically and liberating them from poverty, which was the cause for their being abused by their spouses.
Tanzania Women's Bank (TWB) Managing Director, Ms Margaret Chacha, threw the challenge on Saturday when launching Pwani Women Media Organisation (PWMO) in Kibaha town.
"I urge you to use your pens to educate your fellow women on ways through which they can free themselves economically. One way which can liberate women is for them to form groups and apply for loans which they will use to start small projects," she explained.
Speaking at the event, Superintendent of Police Yusta Millinga, from Regional Police department who is in-charge of Gender Desk in the region, said her desk received a large number of rape, sodomy, child pregnancies, desertion and marital conflict cases which were rooted in outdated customs and traditions.
"Child pregnancies lead in all the cases I have mentioned and one reason for this is the false belief that a girl child has only one responsibility - to get married and bearing children.
"On the other hand, traditional dances which are held at night also result in a large number of girls becoming pregnant and leaving schools.
There is a serious need for the society to be educated on the matter," she said. According to the PWMO chairperson, Ms Mwamvua Mwinyi, the economic status of women and girls in the region was among factors which had pushed women journalists to establish the union.
The union was officially registered in 2013 and has a total of 15 members. Union leaders are Ms. Celina Koka, who is the matron; Margaret Malisa, secretary; Juliet Mkireli, treasurer, and Celina Wilson, the coordinator.
She mentioned some of the union's objectives as fighting gender related oppression; collaboration with other stakeholders; building the capacity of its members through training, and working with other media organisations to bring positive changes to the society.
She said PWMO faced a number of challenges, including funds scarcity and lack of a permanent office and working equipment.