“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women”. Kofi Annan, 7th UN Secretary General
International Women’s day is celebrated worldwide on 8th March. To celebrate Women’s Day, the Morogoro Women’s Activity Portfolio invited Ms. Gloria Kasilo, the co- founder of Tanzania Women’s Health Network, a non–profit organization, to talk to the women of the Jamat. The Tanzania Women’s Health Network helps women/girls in matters of Education, Health, Legal and Empowerment. The goal is to end violence against women; attain personal and social transformation; and prepare women to become leaders and agents of change, so that they can experience a world of limitless opportunities and development.
Women’s empowerment is a process whereby an individual becomes an agent of change. To improve the quality of life of women, their families and ultimately the communities, it is essential for women to participate in economic life across all sectors. Empowering girls and women is the key to economic growth, political stability and social transformation. World leaders, experts and scholars alike are giving their voice to this critical endeavor.
Astonishingly, the exact opposite is true. Rather than uplifting and empowering girls and women, horrific violence is perpetrated against them…every minute, every hour, every day.
Every minute, 2 girls and women are raped in South Africa.
Every hour, 48 girls and women are raped as a weapon of war in Congo.
Every day, 3 women are killed by their male partner in the United States.
In fact, more than 100 million girl babies have been killed, aborted or neglected to die…simply because they were girls. Girls are truly a dying breed.
Today, in the 21st century, many in our society still believe that women are supposed to stay at home, look after the house, cook and care for children. There is still a tendency to hit women (physical and sexual abuse), deny them proper education and self-sustenance.
Empowering women increases their sense of self-worth. Women have a right to choices, access to opportunities and resources. They have the right and power to control their own lives, both within and outside their homes. They can influence the direction of social changes, to create social and economic order within the community, nationally and internationally.
It is important for women/girls to know their rights. Tanzania has specific laws and governing bodies that assist and educate women in these matters, such as:
- SOSPA – Sexual Offences and Special Provisions Act
- Education Act
- Penal Code; Cap 16 R.E. 2002.
Women’s rights are human rights. Empowering women/girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realize and reach their full potential. As the 44th US President Barack Obama said, “When women succeed, nations are more safe, secure and prosperous.”
“BE BOLD FOR CHANGE”
By: Shairose Jivraj