Political party members have been advised not to discriminate against women vying for top leadership posts in the country.
The call was made in Dodoma yesterday by the chairperson of the Tanzania Women Parliamentary Group (TWPG) - Tanzania Women Cross Party (TWCP) – Ulingo platform, Anna AbdaLlah, at a women parliamentarians seminar on gender equality held at National Assembly grounds in Dodoma.
She said some people thought women could not deliver once in top positions or could not win in elections, while the opposite was true. “We have seen men dropping in various elections and women becoming victorious,” she said.
She said political parties should give room for women to contest for top positions as it was in the government.
“Some of the political parties have been reserving top leadership positions for men only, leaving women aside. This is not right. We need to have equal representation (50:50) in parliament,” said Abdallah.
She said the majority of women were not happy with such a tendency and it was not right to think women would not make it once chosen to lead.
“It is time now women contested for the top posts. We want political party leaders to give us opportunities to prove them that we can,” she stressed, adding,” ensure that you (women) participate in elections at all levels.”
She urged her fellow women to be courageous and participate in elections.
“Why there are no women in our political party top leadership posts but men only. We must ensure that even within the parties and not the government only, women have equal chances,” she said.
Abdallah said they were sure if they were given equal opportunities they would perform wonders.
She hailed President Jakaya Kikwete for appointing one of the MPs in his constitutional review team and those appointed in various posts in the government.
“This indicates that the president values women a lot,” she said.
Opening the seminar, Community Development, Gender and Children Minister Sophia Simba called on women to give their views to the constitutional review commission for the new constitution making process.
She said while giving their views, they had to be gender sensitive.
“Let us use this opportunity carefully because this meeting is the foundation and will enable us to understand constitutional changes and let us contribute our views with gender sensitivity,” said Simba.
In March 2010, First Lady Salma Kikwete made a passionate call to Tanzanian women to be courageous and vie for constituency seats instead of waiting for special seats during general elections.
“If we cooperate, we will be strong and get a high number of women from the constituencies to represent Tanzanians in parliament,” she said.
TWCP–Ulingo was registered in 2010 and aims at utilising opportunities to find solutions to problems affecting women. All political parties with MPs in the parliament are members of the newly introduced platform.