Studies reveal grim violence state in Tanzania

WBG reports are: ‘Tanzania Gender Assessment 2022’ and ‘Tanzania Gender-based Violence Assessment 2022’. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The findings bring together the latest evidence on gender gaps in human endowments

Dar es Salaam. Despite many promising efforts to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality in Tanzania, the high rates of gender-based violence in the country remains a serious concern according to two new World Bank Group studies.

The reports titled: ‘Tanzania Gender Assessment 2022’ and ‘Tanzania Gender-based Violence Assessment 2022’ were launched yesterday by WBG.

The findings bring together the latest evidence on gender gaps in human endowments, economic opportunities, ownership and control of assets, and (women’s) voice and agency and the effectiveness of concrete policy and programmatic interventions that address these underlying drivers.

According to the report, nationally, 40 percent of all women between the ages of 15- 49 have experienced physical violence, while 17 percent have experienced sexual violence.

Almost 3 out of 10 Tanzanian females reported at least one experience of sexual violence before the age of 18, and 44 percent of women have experienced either physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner; higher than the global estimates and the regional average for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Although female-genital mutilation (FGM) has decreased over the past two decades, at 10 percent, it continues to be high. In some regions of Tanzania, such as Manyara, FGM is estimated at 58 percent.

Violence against children also remains a serious issue: “a staggering 75 percent of children experienced physical violence by a relative before the age of 18 years, and more than half of females aged 13 to 17 have experienced physical violence in the past year. A significant cause of violence against children is harsh corporal punishment in schools which remains common. We strongly recommend that the Government ban this practice completely to eliminate this risk faced by many Tanzanian children”.

Of particular concern is the degree to which the use of violence by husbands or partners has been normalized, around 58 percent of women and 40 percent of men in Tanzania believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife under certain circumstances, for example, if his wife burns the food, argues with him, goes out without telling him, neglects the children, or denies him sex.

World Bank (WB) Country Director Mara Warwick said despite these dire statistics, it is important to acknowledge the government’s strong commitment and investment in legal frameworks and national plans of action to combat gender-based violence and violence against children.

To help the implementation of the plan, Tanzania Police Force (TPF) has strengthened its response to cases by establishing 417 GBV desks, children and creating 13 new one stop centers in the mainland.

Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups minister Dorothy Gwajima said the government was doing its best to ensure issues related to GBV and violence against children were eliminated.

She stressed that the best way to achieve GBV elimination was to have multiple efforts from different levels of institutions and communities to empower women about their rights.