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Denmark actively supports Tanzania in advancing the gender equality and women’s empowerment agenda.  As an equally integral part of society, to advance women’s equal participation as decision makers and increase their access and control over resources and benefits is essential to enable sustainable development for both men and women. 


Why is Denmark supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment?

Gender equality means that women and men enjoy the same status and have equal opportunity to realize their full human rights and potential to contribute to national, political, economic, social and cultural development, and to benefit from the results.  For the development of any nation, gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential.  Originally it was believed that equality could be achieved simply by giving women and men the same opportunities; however experience has shown that this does not necessarily yield equal results.  Today, the concept of equality acknowledges that women and men may sometimes require different treatment to achieve similar results, due to different life conditions or to compensate for past discrimination.  It is clear that lack of economic empowerment of women and gender based violence (GBV) are two great obstacles for women to fully enjoy their human rights.  Being considered as a force of change, focusing strategically on human rights helps to identify and confront underlying power structures that continue to discriminate against women and girls in Tanzania. Through empowerment by way of information sharing on human rights, men and women alike are given incentives to demand accountability from their policy makers.

How is Denmark supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment?

The Danish Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Programme (2012-2014) with an amount of DKK 25 million aims to contribute to improving the living conditions of women in Tanzania through support that promotes gender equality and empowerment of women:

• Component 1- Gender Based Violence: Through support to Tanzania Media Women’s Association (TAMWA) this component aims to improve prevention of and response to GBV by transforming and strengthening legal frameworks, policies and mechanisms for public and community action. To enable efficient provision of all the required services and achieving a multi-faceted approach, TAMWA will work together with other organizations like TGNP, TAWLA, ZAFELA, and CRC.

• Component 2- Women’s Economic Empowerment: This component aims to enhance economic empowerment of women through strengthened networks and business skills, increased access to market and loan facilities and awareness of rights. At grassroots level this is implemented by Women in Social Entrepreneurship (WISE), an organisation working with women’s groups at community level.  The second part of component 2 will be an initiative called Women’s Access to Finance Initiative (WAFI), targeting women ready for small to medium size businesses. They receive a combination of training from the University of Dar es Salaam Business School (UDBS), and the opportunity to get a secured loan from CRDB, a reputable Tanzanian Bank.


Tanzania has made significant progress towards achieving gender equality through policy implementation from the early 2000s. The major implementation progress includes creation of enabling policy and a legal environment for promotion of gender equality in the country, which has led to ratification of key international and regional and policy instruments such as CEDAW and the SADC Protocol on Gender Equality.  Furthermore, implemented progress on the ratified regional and international policy frameworks includes incorporation of progressive clauses for women’s rights in the country’s Constitution, thereby resulting in improved representation of women’s voices in Parliament and local government councils; enhancement of progressive laws such as the Sexual Offences Special Provision Act (SOSPA) of 1998 that aims at protecting the dignity and integrity of women and children; the development of the National Policy and Women and Gender Policy (2000); a National Strategy for Gender Equality (2005). 
However, although the country has sound gender policies, legislative reforms and poverty reduction strategies with strong gender sensitive indicators, this is yet to result in meaningful and sustainable gains in gender equality in the lives of most women and girls. The main challenge remains, the weak implementation strategies adopted at different levels and the inherent impediments which have not been addressed for bridging the wide gaps between policy implementation on gender equality to create transformation at local level.
Several hindering factors include: limited political will and leadership on gender equality at some levels within the government structures, a non-functional accountability and coordination system for promoting gender equality, all of which have been leading to weak ownership and accountability of this important development agenda by some Government officials for effecting policy implementation with strong impacts. An overarching problem is also the prevailing misconceptions on gender equality as a concept and hence the accrued inefficiencies in application of gender mainstreaming strategies.  The challenging patriarchal nature of many polices and implementation processes continue to negatively affect the advancement of the gender equality agenda.