Recent findings by the University of Dar es Salaam and UN Women showing that the number of women participating in politics could be increased through mentorship are correct.
Oftentimes women are left out in society as a result of the challenges that they face. Early on in life their male counterparts are given priority in education, especially in rural areas where traditional beliefs that relegate their places in society are still very strong. Even at a later stage in life they find opportunities hard to come by. Political parties, for example, rarely create a viable environment for women’s participation in leadership. The methodologies used in selecting candidates often ignore the challenges that women have to overcome.
However, we call on women to take every opportunity that comes their way to narrow this gap. We urge them to shun dependency on affirmative action and pursue their goals aggressively rather than viewing men as indefatigable.
It boggles the mind, for instance, that even after UN Women trained over 1,200 women for leadership positions in 2015, only 509 (40 per cent) of them picked nomination forms to contest political positions, contrary to expectations. Majority of the trainees shied away and were never heard from again.
If only women used these opportunities, they would be far ahead compared to the current status.