Members of Parliament from the Tanzania Parliamentary Women’s Caucus with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi, Hon. Victoria Kauma, MP (National Council and Parliament Caucus) and staff of the National Assembly
|Story by George Sanzila
Members of Parliament from the Tanzanian Women’s Parliamentary Caucus met the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi and the Parliament of Namibia Women’s Caucus today (04/03/19).
The Tanzanian MPs are on a one-week benchmark visit of Parliament of Namibia mainly to share experiences on strategies to achieve greater women representation in parliament.
Namibia prides itself among countries ranked high in terms of women representation in parliament particularly in the National Assembly. Of the 104 members of parliament, 48 are women representing a 46 percent of the parliamentarians.
Hon. Katjavivi who lived in Tanzania as a Swapo representative during the days of the liberation struggle shared the historical past that continues to unite the two countries, adding that the struggle for independence involved both men and women. According to Hon. Katjavivi there was a need to roll out the 50/50 gender policy at all levels of society in order to advance women’s emancipation.
“We are very close to 50/50 representation in parliament. However, there is a need for all political parties to buy into the idea and also to roll out this policy in all sectors of society in order to advance women’s emancipation”, appealed the Speaker.
The Speaker is further concerned about gender based violence that continues to plague the country with women mostly at the receiving end. He revealed to the visiting MPs that Parliament was planning an inclusive dialogue that would involve all stakeholders in mapping out a strategy.
Hon. Esther Mmasi, leader of the Tanzania delegation noted that her country had a lot to learn from their Namibian counterpart regarding equal gender representation when she met the Namibian Parliamentary Caucus at a meeting that followed. Tanzania’s gender representation in Parliament currently stands at 36%. Hon. Mmasi attributed the slow progress in achieving gender parity to gender stereotypes and patriarchy.
She however noted that the women’s caucus has been working hard to both bridge the gap and fight for women’s rights. She cited as an example, a campaign aimed at reducing the number of teenage girls dropping out of school.