Source: The Citizen
Tanzania and other Africans countries are far from realising gender equality, a senior government official has said.

Ms Sihaba Nkinga, permanent secretary in the ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, said yesterday that, although data indicate that women participation and decision making in Tanzania increased from 30 to 41 per cent between 2011 and 2014, still most of them were working in the informal sector.

She said this at the launch of 2016 Human Development report with the theme: "Accelerating gender equality and women's empowerment in Africa".

The report aims at stimulating policy debate and discussion on what steps should be taken to ensure that gender equality is fully integrated into national agendas and ongoing policy dialogues across the African countries.

Ms Nkinga said Tanzanian women make about 51. 1 per cent of the population. She said that out of 43 per cent of women involved in micro and small enterprises, only five to eight per per cent of them utilise the financial sector. She noted that available statics at global and regional level indicate that about 47.9 per cent of women work in informal sector, thus limiting their access to social protection.

She said women earn 24 per cent less than men. The United Nation Development (UNDP) chief economist for Tanzania, Mr Rogers Dhliwayo, said despite the fact that the gender labour gap is closing due to better education, lower fertility, and more economic opportunities for women outside agriculture still persists because women's jobs are undervalued.

"African women are mainly in the informal sector and they earn 24 per cent less than men due to the type of occupation, lower education, parenthood and marriage," he said.

"Women's domestic and care work limits their time for paid work," he added.

He said Africa must implement several strategic pathways to promote gender equality and women empowerment, including closing the gap between women's legal rights and expectations on prevailing practices. "Women should also be more involved in decision making at all levels, including in peace building, conflict resolution, social empowerment through strategic investments and multi-sectoral approaches," he said.

While there is no law in Tanzania, specifically addressing domestic violence, there are general provisions under the Law of Marriage Act, which state that "no person has any right to inflict corporal punishment on his or her spouse."

By Hellen Nachilongo

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