Every year on 8th March, the world observes International Women’s Day. Numerous organizations, corporates, governments and individuals alike celebrate the achievements of women while calling out gender inequality in efforts to forge an inclusive world – a world where diversity and perspectives are valued and afforded equal opportunities.
As a policy dialogue forum comprising CEOs of leading companies in Tanzania, the CEO Roundtable of Tanzania (CEOrt) has long been an advocate for inclusivity. Although the country certainly has long strides to make to attain equality – top leadership positions in the country are predominantly held by men (according to The Citizen newspaper, it is approximated that at the moment only 9% of Tanzanian CEOs are women). And while female member representation in the CEOrt currently stands at 15%, the CEOrt remains committed to contributing to the development of gender parity.
Over the past few years, the CEOrt has sought out opportunities to take collective action that drives positive change in society and aims to close the existing gender gap. Through UN Women Africa, the CEOrt has raised awareness of Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) among Tanzania’s top CEOs to improve inclusion of women in leadership positions in the private sector. Furthermore, Dr. Blandina Kilama, Senior Researcher at REPOA, has spoken at a members’ meeting and shared insights on the private sector efforts to create more gender equal workplaces. It was evident that progress had been made in providing access to education, training, employment and decision-making roles in the private sector. Mme Zuhura Muro, Managing Director – Lindam Group, has delved deeper into some of the dynamics that are impeding meaningful development towards gender parity. “Tackling the confidence gap is very important in the quest to attaining gender parity,” she has said.
The CEOrt has also been dedicated to celebrating women in leadership in Tanzania through its Women Wednesday digital series. Recognizing that women are powerful agents of change, the CEOrt has profiled female members and their accomplishments every week, harnessing the power of women’s stories to bring focus to the impact these women have on their communities.
Studies show that promoting women into leadership positions results in improved overall business performance for sustained profitable growth. It was a moment of great pride to see two of the three female participants from the recently graduated first cohort of the CEOrt’s CEO Apprenticeship Programme already advancing their careers with new promotions within months of completing the course. In preparation to welcome the next cohort of candidates, the CEOrt will continue to play a significant role in the development of Tanzania’s future leaders in a manner that is inclusive.
Members of the CEOrt continue to publicly champion gender equality and diversity, leveraging their leadership influence to advance gender equality. As we join the world in honoring this year’s International Women’s Day theme that calls for us to #ChooseToChallenge inequality, let us choose to champion gender balance and mindsets that support female empowerment, and the positive visibility of all women. It is from these actions that change will come.
Happy International Women’s Day.