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Women hold key to region's economic success, says EAC Secretary General

East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania, 7th March, 2022; The Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC),  Hon. (Dr)  Peter Mathuki said women constitute more than 50 percent of the population of the EAC and therefore hold the key to the region’s economic success.  

Dr. Mathuki made a statement earlier today during the opening session of an Annual Women’s Conference organized by EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the Tengeru Institute of Community Development as part of the 2022 International Women’s Day celebrations. 

The Secretary General noted that Article 5(e) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC stipulates gender mainstreaming in all its endeavours and enhancement of the role of women in cultural, social, political, economic and technological development, whereas Articles 121 and 122 emphasise the role of women in socio-economic development and business. 

“We need to include women as active participants in decision-making at both the national and regional levels. The purpose of this is to ensure that decisions are inclusive and reflect the desires of the entire population,” said Dr. Mathuki 

The EAC boss informed the conference that at the national level, the Constitutions of the respective Partner States guarantee one-third majority for women in elective positions and this has considerably increased the number of women legislators in elective positions across the region.  

Dr. Mathuki further said that Partner States have also institutionalized Gender Equality with each having autonomous Ministries responsible for Gender with their respective policies, strategies, action plans and gender focal persons to promote, coordinate, implement, and monitor gender equality and equity. 

In addition, the Secretary General disclosed that Affirmative Action in regional politics has considerably increased female representation in National Parliaments, with Rwanda leading at 63.8% in the Lower House and 38.5% in the Senate or Upper House; Burundi at 36.4% in the Lower House and 41.9% in the Senate; Uganda at 35%; Tanzania at 36%; Kenya at 27.8%; and in South Sudan, women hold 28.5% of seats in Parliament.

“I wish to say that women alone cannot achieve Gender Equality; it requires a strong commitment by all of us,” he added. 

On his part, Hon. Dr. Amon Manju, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups, United Republic of Tanzania appreciated the efforts taken by the Partner States to ensure equal rights for men and women in economic, social, and political affairs. 

“As a country, Tanzania has registered many achievements, these include policies and initiatives aimed at supporting and promoting women’s economic empowerment, women leadership, access to basic social services, as well as a review of discriminatory legislation. This demonstrates the Government’s strong commitment towards furthering gender equality and women’s empowerment”, said Hon. Dr. Manju. 

The Deputy Permanent Secretary called upon Partner States to ensure that women truly have equal opportunities to own land and property, to engage in decent work, and to promote better sharing of unpaid care work. “We need to overcome persistent challenges so that we finally attain 50/50 representation in leadership spaces, to intensify efforts to prevent violence against women and girls,” he added. 

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrated annually on 8th March to recognize social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This year's theme is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” 

The theme recognises the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all 

The two-day conference has brought together stakeholders representing Civil Society Organizations and Private Sector Bodies, the Tengeru Institute of Community Development, UNWomen and other Development Partners, the East Africa Youth Network, Women’s Groups and Associations, and Students from the region.

Also in attendance are members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), representatives of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) and EAC Secretariat staff.

For more information, please contact:

Simon Peter Owaka
Senior Public Relations Officer
Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department
EAC Secretariat
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255 768 552087
Email: sowaka [at] eachq.org

About the East African Community Secretariat:

The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The EAC Secretariat is ISO 9001: 2015 Certified

Tags: IWD2022 , #BreakTheBias

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