Dar es Salaam. Gender activists and campaigners met here yesterday to discuss marginalisation of and discrimination against women in the country’s labour market and chart out strategies to solve the problem.
There was a consensus among the activists and campaigners that although positive strides have been made in reducing discrimination against women in accessing employment positions, more needed to be done to realise fully gender equality in the area.
Taking place under the aegis of Action Aid Tanzania, the meeting brought together gender activists from across the country, heads of women groups, women personalities from the media, university professors, representatives from labour unions and heads of international organisations.
The participants explored the level of marginalisation that women in the country are made to suffer in the country’s labour market and the issue of decency of works that most female wokers engage themselves with. Ms Jovina Nawenzake, Action Aid’s head of Programme and Policy, said that the meeting was aimed at discussing women’s labour, decent work and public services.
“The goal is to discuss these issues together and be able to come up with a strategy which outlines the issues to be tackled in a period of three years from now so that we can sufficiently advocate for women’s rights,” she said.
“What is important is to make women’s labour, not just respected and valued, but also its contribution recognised in the national economy together with having equal division of labour and benefits for both males and females.”
Earlier in explaining the situation of women’s labour, decent work and public services basing on her study, a consultant from the Mkwawa University of Education, Prof Esther Dungumaro, said that joint advocacy involving critical stakeholders was paramount in promoting labour rights for women in the country.
Prof Dungumaro said that though there had been an increase in women’s labour participation, their rate of participation was still low in terms of decent work. She said it was yet to be a reality.
Her research findings, which were based on the available data on the subject, showed that labour force participation was higher for males (89.4 per cent) than females (84.2 per cent).
Prof Dungumaro pointed out that 83.4 per cent of all employed are vulnerable with females being more vulnerable (88.9 per cent) compared to males (78.2 per cent).
The share of males in senior and middle management occupations is higher (82.6 per cent) compared to females (17.4 per cent).
“Giving the significance of informal sector in the economy as an employment generator, the sector should be assisted by the government and relevant stakeholders to graduate from informal to formal sector,” recommended Prof Prof Dungumaro.
“This will enhance rapid economic growth leading to poverty alleviation and achieving decent work conditions in the country and improve women’s living conditions and quality of life.”