Gender and Women’s Empowerment

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Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. UN Women notes that gender is experienced and expressed differently across various social identities, including political status, class, ethnicity, physical and mental disability, age, and other social classifications.

The new sustainable development agenda is an extension of the Millennium Development Goals MDGs and aims to go further into the root causes of poverty and inequality and the need for sustainable development. Gender inequalities are still deeply rooted in every society where women still experience lower wages and are denied access to basic education, health care and are victims of violence and discrimination. Women are often excluded from decision-making processes leading to inequalities. Involving women in social, economical and political processes is key to gender equality and sustainable development.

The situation in Tanzania has improved through involvement and programmes supporting gender equality. More households are sending their daughters to primary school and more women also become heads of families which increases financial responsibilities. More women are also currently involved in the political sphere and according to statistics

• Girls primary school attendance increased from 60% to 83% between 2001 and 2011
• Women today own 47% of non-agricultural household enterprises in the country.
• More than a third of parliamentary seats are occupied by women
• Women count for 35% of wage employment in the country
• While about 41% of girls transition to secondary school education, only 3% complete the cycle.
• Salaries paid to women are on awarage 63% lower than those paid to men.

In 2010 33% of Tanzanian women reported they had been subjected to physical domestic violence. Women’s empowerment and wellbeing is key to a country’s economical and social prosperity and Sustainable Development. When women are involved in decision making on a social and political level, have access to education it results in healthier families. Yet many women in Tanzania are not given equal opportunities and still suffer from discrimination and inequalities.

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