Editorial

Tanzania has made significant strides in its efforts to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality. The 2005 revision to the Constitution created momentum for the government to “accord equal opportunities to all citizens, men and women alike” and to eradicate discrimination. National development plans in Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar have prioritised women’s empowerment and taken a gender sensitive approach, while gender has been mainstreamed in selected sectoral policies. Yet, persistent challenges continue to negatively affect women’s and girls’ opportunities and rights.

At the heart of the gender-based discrimination that women and girls face every day lie discriminatory social norms, preconceived ideas, biased attitudes and harmful customary practices. For the past 13 years, the OECD Development Centre has concentrated its efforts on identifying and analysing social institutions and showing how discrimination within them may have long-lasting impacts on women’s outcomes across a diverse range of areas, including health, employment, education and governance. At the same time, in line with its mandate, UN Women has relentlessly supported the Government of Tanzania in generating quality data and evidence on social norms and practices in order to better inform policies and programmes.

Discriminatory social norms account for a large proportion of gender inequality, yet often remain invisible. If left unaddressed, no real and definitive progress in favour of equality between men and women will be made. For this reason, the SIGI Country Report for Tanzania unpacks and analyses these challenges in order to provide policy makers with concrete and actionable insights based on evidence and data. This report paints a complex situation consisting of substantial progress and persistent challenges. For instance, over the past 50 years, Tanzania has succeeded in cutting the girl child marriage rate by half. Yet, out of all women aged 20-24 years, 16% have been married before the age of 18. Likewise, women’s access to the labour market is high but they continue to undertake a disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work due to traditional views that shape the roles of men and women within the household.

It is our sincere hope that the recommendations laid out in this report will help inform the design and implementation of laws, policies and programmes in the country with a view to transform social norms and make gender equality a reality. The real value and strength of these robust recommendations lies in the fact that they represent a collaborative process between all the partners of the project and build on the inputs provided by the members of the Technical Advisory Group. Partnerships, close collaboration and local ownership is essential and the SIGI Tanzania is no exception.

The evidence presented in the SIGI Country Report for Tanzania will undoubtedly have important implications for advancing national understanding of the relationship between discriminatory social institutions, gender equality and development. Equipped with this, the next step will be to take action that will bring about concrete changes to the lives of women and men in Tanzania.

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Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir

Director, OECD Development Centre

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Hodan Addou

Representative, UN Women Tanzania

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