Dar es Salaam — The eighth edition of the Mwananchi Thought Leadership Forum (MTLF) tackled many gender issues. This was all part of the discourse centred on ending Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in society.
These are some of the takeaways from the discussion which was attended by dignitaries from both the private and public sector.
Tanzania should empower women economically to be able to end Gender-Based Violence (GBV). This was one of the most retorted call to action yesterday at the MTLF. The executive secretary of the National Economic Empowerment Council, Ms Beng'i Issa, echoed the same sentiments at the forum which brought gender stakeholders together to discuss ways to end gender violence.
"When women are economically-empowered, they will be independent - and, therefore, be able to avoid gender violence," she pontificated.
Ms Issa said her wish is to see economic equality between men and women - and that this can only happen by increasing women's control over household income.
She called upon the government to formalise small businesses, which are mostly handled by women in order to enable them increase their income.
"After they are formalized, women businesses will be bankable and easily identified in terms of their capital and locations," she noted.
Ms Issa insisted on the need to give special consideration to women when it comes to job recruitment and business engagements.
She said initiatives such as special loans for women, youth and the disabled, petty traders' special Identity Cards as well as the local content policy were a deliberate move by the government to empower Tanzanians, including women economically.
"We need to empower women by improving their income because by doing so we positively change our society," she stressed.
For his part, Dr John Jingu, the permanent secretary of the ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children said a total of Sh2 billion has been given out by the Postal Bank under a special scheme aimed at empowering women in the country.
He said the funding was part of the government's commitment to serving special groups in society. He said this when officially opening the forum.
"The government is rolling out different efforts to make sure women are empowered economically as a way of improving their lives. This will go along with paying attention to the laws of the country and punish people who break the laws accordingly," said Dr Jingu.
He further said the gender desks started by the government and one-stop centres are also working closely with the community to make sure violence against women and children ends.
He said the government was coming up with various policies, laws, programs and strategies to empower women economically in the belief that by doing so, the society will also be empowered.
The National Coordinator, Women in Law and Development Africa (Wildaf) Anna Kulaya said according to the United Nations-Women this year's theme for the campaign is "Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!"
Ms Kulaya said, change is possible but it requires determination and involvement of everyone in the society.
It has been reported that during their lifetime, one in three women will experience violence solely because of their gender.
On her side, the chief executive officer of the Legal Services Facility (LSF), Ms Lulu Ng'wanakilala, said Tanzania deserves kudos when it comes to gender parity in public service positions.
"The existing policies and laws are supportive enough to have both men and women in top managerial positions in both the public and private sectors," she said.
Commenting on MTLF, Mwananchi Communications Ltd's acting managing director, Bakari Machumu, said the decision to come up with the forum was not only to identify challenges in society but also to find solutions to them.
"Mwananchi Communications, which publishes the Mwananchi, The Citizen and Mwanaspoti newspapers, as well as online platforms, started the MTLF forum a year ago - and this is our 8th forum," he said.