Source: Daily News 

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan yesterday reaffirmed Tanzania's commitment in striking gender parity, saying the country was on track to meet the 50/50 threshold in leadership.

President Samia expressed her government's devotion to expedite the women's economic empowerment agenda, by setting a good environment that allows and encourages women to engage in various economic activities.

The Head of State said women constitute more than half of the population in Tanzania, 51 per cent, and obviously, the group stands to contribute greatly to the country's devel opment.

President Samia was addressing thousands of women from across the country in the capital city, Dodoma.

She said women were capable of bringing positive changes at both local and international levels and that it was high time they took charge by venturing in various production and leadership areas.

She said the government will keep improving infrastructures that will enable women and other groups to engage in both socioeconomic activities.

"We are doing everything in our capacity to ensure there are improvements in the education sector, water services, and transportation and make sure women entrepreneurs are linked to various institutions that offer training on financial related matters," she said.

President Samia said the government strives to open up more opportunities for women to engage in businesses and access loans from various financial institutions.

The president revealed that gender parity and empowerment of women is one of the criteria she considers when making presidential appointments, since she understands the ability and commitment of the country's women.

She said so far the government has already provided 2.22tri/- to 5.5 million women through 61 established women funds. She said that in recent appointments, which involved the Regional Administrative Secretaries she picked 12 women out of 26 appointees.

"I believe that this is the time to have more women in leadership positions," she insisted.

The president also recalled that only recently she appointed 13 women among 28 new judges.

President Samia revealed further that she opted to appoint a woman the National Assembly Clerk in the attempt to strike a gender balance in one of the biggest decision making bodies.

According to President Samia, appraisals showed that until 2017, all public institutions that were led by women were performing impressively.

She revealed that in 2016, the United Nations (UN) called and asked her to support women so that they can engage in various empowerment programmes.

In her advice to women, the President said that they should use their power to ensure that the country achieves its development agenda.

"The good news is that we have power, we can keep children in our stomachs, and of course we have power to keep everything in our hearts, let's go and work for the benefits of our people," she noted.

The president also directed all district councils to avoid misusing the money that is allocated as loans for youth, women and people with disabilities.

The president also reminded women to fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and all other forms of gender violence. It was the second time the president was meeting with different groups, having previously met the elders in Dar es Salaam.

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