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Key findings
  • In Tanzania, women are about as likely as men to have primary, secondary, and post secondary education.
  • But women are significantly less likely to have control over key assets such as a mobile phone (70% vs. 83%), a bank account (15% vs. 23%), a motor vehicle (9% vs. 16%), and a computer (3% vs. 7%).
  • Strong majorities say women should have the same rights as men to get a job (60%) and to own and inherit land (85%). o More than eight in 10 citizens say that, in Tanzania today, women in fact enjoy equal rights when it comes to jobs (87%) and land (82%).
  • Seven in 10 Tanzanians (70%) say women should have the same chance as men of being elected to public office. o More than one-third of citizens think that a woman running for office will probably be criticised or harassed (38%) or will face problems with her family (35%).
  • More than eight in 10 Tanzanians (83%) say their government is doing a “fairly good” or “very good” job of promoting equal rights and opportunities for women. o But three-quarters (75%) think the government should do more to promote gender equality.

Tanzania, which gained its first female president in Samia Suluhu Hassan in 2021, has made substantial progress in advancing gender equality. Its achievements are recognised by the Global Gender Gap Index, which ranks Tanzania 48th out of 146 countries in 2023, up from 82nd in 2021 and 64th in 2022 (World Economic Forum, 2023).  

Gender equality is enshrined in Tanzania’s Constitution and integrated in national plans, including the National Women and Gender Development Policy of 2000, the National Strategy for Gender and Development of 2002, the 2016 National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children, and the National Development Vision 2025. Internationally, Tanzania is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, and the Southern African Development Community Protocol on Gender and Development, among others. 

Women now hold about 35% of Cabinet positions and 37% of parliamentary seats (Inter Parliamentary Union, 2023; Msafiri, 2023a). They account for 48.8% of the labour force (National Bureau of Statistics, 2022), and Tanzania is among the world’s highest-scoring countries on income parity, though only 14% of firms have female top managers (World Economic Forum, 2023). Other persistent gender challenges include greater land insecurity, lower levels of financial inclusion, and high rates of gender-based violence (World Bank, 2022a, b). 

This dispatch reports on a special survey module included in the Afrobarometer Round 9 (2021/2023) questionnaire to explore Africans’ experiences and perceptions of gender equality in control over assets, hiring, land ownership, and political leadership. (For findings on gender-based violence, see Msafiri, 2023b). 

In Tanzania, strong majorities express support for women’s right to equality in hiring, land ownership, and political leadership. But substantial minorities also consider it likely that a woman might suffer criticism, harassment, or family problems if she runs for elective office. Most Tanzanians approve of the government’s performance on promoting equal rights and opportunities for women, although they also say that greater efforts are needed.

Jane Mpapalika

Jane Mpapalika is a senior researcher for REPOA, the Afrobarometer national partner in Tanzania.

Cornel Jahari

Cornel Jahari is the Researcher/Fieldwork Manager at REPOA.

Derick Msafiri

Derick Msafiri is an intern for REPOA, the Afrobarometer national <br /> partner in Tanzania.