FIDE’s vision is to seek a poverty-free, equitable and environmentally sustainable society. FIDE knows this can only be achieved through gender equality, which means recognizing that men and women have different needs, priorities and constraints. Committed to support and reach out to more women and girls in its programming, FIDE has successfully adopted in July 2019 a Gender Equality Policy. So why gender equality?

Whereas the number of girls and boys attending primary school is similar, girls still encounter greater barriers when it comes to secondary and tertiary education. Girls are most likely to drop out or never going to school due to various reasons, such as poverty, early marriages and pregnancies and school related gender-based violence. As a result, less than 3% of women reach tertiary education (5% for men) and 15% of women simply have no education at all (8% for men).

Women and girls also face significant challenges regarding their general and reproductive health. Women are more vulnerable to contracting HIV from infected patients as they often occucy the role of caregivers. In 2016, 5.5% of women had HIV compared to 3.4% for men. Maternal mortality remains one of the major causes of death in Tanzania and affects women directly. Female genital mutilation

(FGM) also continues to persist in Tanzania, especially in the Central and Northern regions. Altogether, women and girls exercise little control over their own health as 40% don’t participate in the significant decisions regarding their health.

However, health is only one of the many matters that women are excluded from the decision-making process. At the family level, this can be explained by the fact that men are perceived as the family leaders and breadwinners and therefore, the decision-makers. At the work level, attitudes still exist that women are not fit to be in charge, which results in the under-representation of women in leadership and other positions where power is exercised. In certain cases, women are simply not allowed to hold a job or leave the house as it is forbidden by the husband.

Indeed, married women often have to follow rules implemented by the husband and are subjected to domestic violence if they disobey. 58% of women and 40% of men agree that a husband can beat his wife if she burns the food, argues with him, goes out without telling him, neglects the children or refuses to have sex with him. Physical or sexual violence is so widespread that it has become the norm for many women. In fact, 44% of women age 15-49 have experienced physical or sexual violence and 20% of

women over the age of 12 have experienced rape in their lifetime.

Another major challenge that women are faced with are access and ownership rights. Despite the laws in place, customs and traditions in Tanzania continue preventing women from owning land and livestock as the latter is attributed to men. Women’s ownership rights can still be jeopardized even if their name is in the propriety title or if they inherited it. Most women are not educated on their land rights and when they are, they often lack the financial support to enforce their rights in court.

Women also face greater barriers when it comes to accessing the labor market. By comparison to men, women have less skill-building opportunities and access to resources, and are therfore viewed as less qualified. As a result, women are less likely to be employed in the formal sector and if they are, they earn lower wages than men do for the same work. 76% of women work in the agricultural sector, a work that is often unpaid and largely invisible. Women also bear a heavier workload than men as they have a triple role burden – productive, reproductive and community roles. Consequently, most women spend 16 to 18 hours per day working (8 to 10 hours for men), from which 4 hours is spent on unpaid household work (1 hour for men).