DAR ES SALAAM — While there are many promising opportunities to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality in Tanzania, the country’s high rates of gender-based violence remain a serious concern, according to two new World Bank Group studies They call on the Government of Tanzania to continue to strengthen the political and legal environment to protect the nation’s women and girls.
The two reports, the Tanzania Gender Assessment 2022 and the Tanzania Gender-Based Violence Assessment 2022, bring together the latest evidence on gender gaps in human endowments, economic opportunity, asset ownership and control, and voice and agency ( of women); and the effectiveness of specific policy and programmatic interventions that address these underlying drivers. The Gender Based Violence (GBV) Assessment focuses on GBV legislation and policies, systems and coordination, and response and prevention programming.
“It is encouraging to see the commitment from policymakers to end violence against women and children in Tanzania,” said Mara Warwick, World Bank Country Director. “However, as our studies show, existing efforts such as National Action Plans need to be backed by sustainable funding for their implementation. Furthermore, laws that continue to undermine the rights of women and girls to be free from violence and discrimination urgently need to be reformed, such as the Marriage Law, which is still pending repeal.”
The analysis shows that despite the comprehensive framework to prevent and respond to GBV and Violence Against Children (VAC) through the National Plans of Action (NPAs, 2017-2022), and the establishment of broad government coordination mechanisms , violence against women and children continues. a national problem. More than 20 percent of all women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence in the last year (40 percent in their lifetime), and about 75 percent of children experience physical violence from a relative before the 18 years. Additionally, 58 percent of women and 40 percent of men believe a husband is justified in hitting his wife under certain circumstances.
According to studies, high rates of gender-based violence, including intimate partner violence, can be attributed to two key factors: i) social norms, with risk factors exacerbated in high rates of early marriage and childbirth; low levels of economic independence and education of women and ii) women with lower levels of agency and decision-making power due to their lower participation in employment, their lower income, the age difference between husbands and wives, and being in a relationship polygamous
“To combat gender-based violence, it is important to foster legal literacy among the population through the translation of laws and policies, as well as support for widespread community outreach and awareness,” said Yaa Pokua Afriyie Oppong, sector leader of the World Bank and co-author of the report.
“Global evidence suggests that investments to keep girls in school may be particularly critical for reducing child marriage and early motherhood,” said Inaam ul Haq, World Bank Program Leader and co-author of the report.
The authors make several recommendations in each of the research areas, including an urgent call for action to change the legislative framework to address child marriage as a key driver of gender-based violence. The Marriage Act sets the minimum age for marriage at 15 for girls and 18 for boys. In 2016, the High Court of Tanzania ruled that the minimum age for girls was unconstitutional, and the Court of Appeal subsequently upheld this ruling in 2019. As part of this ruling, the government was instructed that within a year it should change the minimum age of marriage for girls is 18, however this reform is still pending.
Additionally, a review of the national community and PNA outreach is recommended to ensure alignment with best practices for gender-based violence prevention, in addition to investing in improvements to gender-based violence information management systems. to ensure that quality, standardized data on gender-based violence is collected across the country.
The Gender Assessment was the foundational analytical work that underpinned the 17th Tanzania Economic Update, Empowering Women: Expanding Access to Assets and Economic Opportunities, launched in March 2022.