Tanzania: Why Zanzibar Leadership Still Has Few Women
THE number of women in leadership worldwide has gradually been increasing, but in some communities like Zanzibar more efforts are required to increase the representation of women in decision-making groups. Pressure groups and women rights activists have been pushing policy makers and the government to make sure that factors contributing to low representations of women in leadership at all levels are removed. However, it has been noted that some of the barriers to women leadership and participation in decision making groups like jealousy, division and hat among women, lie within the reach of women themselves. Prof Elias R. Mathipa and E. M. Tsoka from Vista University, South Africa say in their article published in South African Journal of Education that possible barriers to the advancement of women to leadership positions are poor self-image, which is a factor attributed more to women than to men and lack of assertiveness – as a habit associated more with women than men. Less career orientation – as a sign of less interest in women as leaders; less confidence – as an argument that women, unlike men, generally lack the will to achieve; poor performance – a myth used as an excuse for employing less women in demanding occupations and discrimination as a sign of low interest in the recruitment of women into leadership positions. The scholars also mention demotion as a form of punishment thought to suit women better as they are perceived to be lazy and arrogant. Mr Khatib Suleiman, a senior journalist in Zanzibar says that change should begin from women should they need to get more opportunity in leadership roles. “Women are failing to use their advantage of being many. They easily get divided, resulting in hard time for female candidates in elections. Our work of activism becomes difficult when women get divided,” said Suleiman at a training workshop for journalists on “Journalists role in promoting women’s leadership.” Other journalists at the workshop organised by the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) in the implementation of ‘Support Women in Accessing Leadership Positions (SWALP)’ project also were of the opinion that “women should support initiatives to fight for women rights by minimising hatred among themselves.” Ms Salma Said from Mwananchi, Ms Rahma Suleiman of Chuchu FM, Ms Khamisu Ali of ZBC-tv, Mr Juma Abdallah from Zenji- FM and Mr Ramadhani Himid- Freelance, admit that they (journalists) have not done enough in promoting women leadership, but argued that lack of unity among women frustrates the campaign for the rights of women.