CEOrt launches initiative to increase women in leadership

By Carlos Banda , The Guardian
Published at 07:17 PM Apr 18 2024
Mwanaidi Ali Hamisi, deputy minister for community development, gender, women, elderly and special groups.
Photo: Carlos Banda
Mwanaidi Ali Hamisi, deputy minister for community development, gender, women, elderly and special groups.

The CEO Roundtable of Tanzania (CEOrt) has launched ‘Think Equal Lead Smart’ (TELS) initiative, an initial three-year project designed to foster full and effective participation of women through creation of equal opportunities for leadership across all decision-making platforms.

Speaking at the launch event in Dar es Salaam today, Mwanaidi Ali Hamisi, deputy minister for community development, gender, women, elderly and special groups, commended CEOrt and private sector leaders for their efforts to advance gender inclusivity in the country to address challenges for women in businesses, mid-level managers and at grassroots level.

"The government has consistently demonstrated a commitment to eliminating gender inequalities and disparities and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. Through our ministry, we have implemented policies and programmes aimed to enable women to contribute meaningfully to the society,” she said.

“However, to further strengthen these initiatives and achieve sustainable impact, it is important for all stakeholders, including the private sector, to actively contribute and support gender-inclusive efforts. We therefore pledge to strengthen our cooperation to ensure this project empowers all women in the country.”

Santina Benson, CEOrt executive director, said the initiative aims to increase the number of women leaders in all decision-making roles, adding that the stock exchange data shows that amongst 28 companies there is only one female executive, which means that the set target to have more women leaders in the private sector has not been reached. 

“We recognize the critical role of women in driving sustainable development and inclusive growth. Through the TELS initiative, we aim to bring together stakeholders with the right technical knowledge to deepen an understanding of gender inequality challenges within the key focus areas and develop solutions to enhance gender inclusion,” she said. 

Our goal extends beyond addressing existing disparities; empowering women is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic move, as women in leadership positions are instrumental to drive a competitive advantage and transformative change.”

Benson said that although significant progress has been made towards promoting gender equality and empowering women in the country, there is still much work to be done to provide women with equal opportunities for leadership.

“We acknowledge that to date, there are a number of programmes aimed at increasing women’s participation in leadership. However, the unique goal of this initiative is to drive systemic change. The final desired result is a shift in organizational structures, policies and actions of institutions, and directly seeing the shift across all levels of society,” she said.

Harriet Lwakatare, chairperson of Vodacom foundation, said Vodacom as key funder of the project targets to support CEOrt’s initiative through financial expertise, adding that it is also an opportunity to reach more people.

“We are happy to join CEOrt to launch this initiative which targets to uplift women economically. As a partner, Vodacom has injected 200m/- to fund this three-year project in the first phase. In order to achieve the desired results for women, more funds will be needed and we will continue working closely with CEOrt to ensure we bring forth sustainable changes at policy level and through digitalization of the economy,” she said.