Saturday, June 19, 2010

Engage women in active politics, parties urged

Political parties have been urged to engage women in elective politics by enhancing their roles in identifying and interpreting main gender issues. The United Fund for Women (UNIFEM) coordinator, Ms Fortunata Temu, said in political parties women’s access to key decision making organs and leadership roles is relatively low compared to their male counterparts. Addressing a workshop in Dar es Salaam recently, she urged political parties to sensitise women on gender issues during elections. She said the move would increase their understanding of national, regional and international commitments and obligations related to women’s participation and representation in key decision-making organs at all levels. Ms Temu explained that the role of women in political parties is a key determinant of their prospects for political empowerment at the national level. She said political parties were central in shaping and influencing women’s participation and representation towards attaining the threshold ratio of 50-50. She noted that since the re-introduction of multi-party politics in the country all leaders of the 18 fully registered political parties are men except in the Tanzania Democratic Alliance (Tadea). A representative from NCCR-Mageuzi, Mr Faustin Sungura, said women’s access to national leadership has been very low, both in elective and non-elective posts, within and outside political parties and government institutions. He attributed this to the political parties’ reluctance to nurture them. “Only 18 women, representing 7.9 per cent, were directly elected in the electoral process, meaning that 90 per cent of women MPs were obtained through an affirmative process,” said Ms Temu.
Participants in the workshop agreed that women should be accorded more support than now to enable them gain confidence and esteem to vie for political and other leadership posts. The workshop focused on gender issues in relation to women’s participation in competitive politics; patterns and trends of women’s representation in key decision making; the quota system for women in politics and legal mechanism for promoting women’s access to decision making.

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