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Tanzania tax justice stakeholders from Policy Forum are currently writing a submission of tax reform in preparation for budget 2021/22. The proceedings of the task force on tax reform are scheduled to get underway in February 2021.

The government though the Ministry of Finance and Planning (MoFP) plans to provide a structured forum for discussion of various issues relating to tax policy and administration. This exercise has previously constituted a crucial input to policy makers. It has helped to shape the country’s tax regime and through dialogue and analysis, facilitated an effective transparent and efficient resolution of several issues.

To seamlessly coordinate an impactful submission, the government will take lead by giving an update of the policy objectives, agenda and challenges as well as an assessment of tax policy priorities for budget 2021/22. This will provide participants with a broad context for this year’s proceedings and motivate analysis and discussion on impacts of various proposals in depth.

The fiscal policy measures aim at improving business environment to attract investments and facilitating growth of small and medium business for sustainable economic growth; enhancing voluntary tax compliance; broadening the tax base; mainstreaming the use of ICT system in tax administration; strengthening enforcement of tax laws to address tax evasion challenges and minimize revenue leakages; and streamlining levies and fees to improve business and investment environment.

The Policy Forum’s submission are meant to propose changes in tax or non-tax revenue, including analysis of sectors, regions or types of taxpayers that would be affected, the projected impact on the economy and government revenues in the year of implementation and outer years, the rationale and justification for the proposed revenue policy changes and in particular analysis of the means by which the proposal will help the government achieve its overarching economic, fiscal and poverty reduction objectives.

Kindly be informed that Policy Forum secretariat office will be closed for Christmas and New Year Holidays from December 22, 2020 to January 13, 2021.                                    

We would like to wish you a very Happy Holidays.

From 2015 to 2020 the United Republic of Tanzania had 7% elected women parliamentarians and 5%  local government councillors, respectively. The small number of women in these positions prompted Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and political party leaders to call for women to register as voters and to contest as candidates.

A high-level call was made by President of the United Republic of Tanzania H.E. John Magufuli whom, while dissolving the 11th Parliament urged political parties to include youth, women, and persons with disabilities in the electoral process.

Presenting her findings at the November Breakfast Debate hosted by Policy Forum, a renowned Governance , Gender and Disability Advisor, Dr. Victoria Lihiru unravelled that one of the causes of the minimal number of women candidates nominated by political parties is the Political Parties (Amendment) Act, 2019.

Dr. Lihiru stated that  the Act demanded political parties to ensure the inclusion of women in the election of political party leadership and electoral candidates. Progressive as it sounds, the Act is ineffective in commanding compliance by the political parties and enforcement by the office of the Registrar of Political Parties.

However, the Act does not stipulate the threshold , for instance the number or percentage of women the political party should have as its members, leaders, and candidates to demonstrate its compliance with the Act. It is therefore at the discretion of political parties to determine level of compliance.

Dr. Lihiru further highlighted that apart from the Act lacking provisions to support the explicit presentation of women in political spaces, the environment for women candidates who went through the nomination in the 2020 General Elections process was just one hurdle out of many. There were reports of  incidences of harassment and violence against women but however they lack systematic documentation.

On the other side ,  Dr. Lihiru expounded 50.33% of the voters registered by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) were female and 49.67% were male. Despite the slight higher figure of women voters, the presence of candidates was significantly low.

At the Presidential level, two political parties ; Alliance for Democratic Change (ADC) and Demokrasia Makini (DM) nominated women as presidential candidates. There were also five women in the Vice Presidential candidacy position from CCM, Sauti ya Umma (SAU), Civic United Front (CUF), Democratic Party (DP) and United for Multiparty Democracy (UMD).

Nevertheless, newly elected Member of Parliament (MP) , Hon. Judith Salvio Kapinga commenced her discussion by posing a questioning on why we need to invest in women and, she elaborated on the term “National Prosperity” as a drive to engage women as representatives of all groups in the society.

Taking us through memory lane, Hon. Kapinga explicated that after independence in 1961, there were only six female members of parliament and in 1995 after the first multiparty elections there was a steady increase.

“The elected MPs are prominent women who have sworn to undertake the duty with great value and dedication” said Hon. Kapinga as she encouraged the audience to provide support to them as they execute the reigning term.

Hon. Kapinga also urged stakeholders to engage  female MPs in dialogues such as the PF’s Breakfast debate because they are informative platforms which useful insights to be presented in the parliament.

From the audience , participants urged that the focus should not be on numbers rather female members of parliament should be vocal enough to present the needs of the people and  do away with party politics.

Dr. Lihiru shared an article from the study that was presented , it can be found on http://www.udadisi.org/2020/12/chronicles-of-women-participation-in.html?m=1

Since 1993, the government of Tanzania has been providing loans to the vulnerable and marginalized groups, initially being women and youth  groups then following the amendment of The Local Governments Act of 1982 as amended in 2018, section 37A (4) requires Local Government Authorities (LGAs) to provide 2% loans from its own revenues with no interest to the people living with disabilities (PWDs).

Provision of the loans by LGAs is geared to empower women, youth and people with disabilities enabling them with financial muscles to carry out income generating activities to lift their households out of poverty. The law distributes the free interest loans in the  ratio of 4:4:2 (4% women, 4% youth and 2% for people living with disabilities (PWDs).

This was unraveled at the Policy Forum Breakfast Debate held on October 30, 2020 where Mr. Reynald Maeda, the Secretary General of the United Nations Association of Tanzania (UNATZ) highlighted the key focus of the  presentation  on the general outlook of the provision of 10% loans and what UNATZ does as an association to ensure effective governance and implementation of the regulations.

Maeda highlighted the missing components at the local government level comprises of  lack of proper machinery for governance and monitoring of the loans to ensure sustainability for the beneficiaries and that awareness raising on the accessibility of the loans is significant to capitalize on economic empowerment with an inclusive lens. He also mentioned that the diversion of funds to other projects instead of serving the intended purpose to build economic resilience and sustainable activities in areas of agricultural production, livestock keeping, poultry husbandry and trading was a challenge.

To curb this gap, Maeda mentioned that UNATZ in partnership with Policy Forum and President’s Office – Regional Administration and Local Governance (PO-RALG) have collectively started initiatives to develop national guidelines on how to manage  the 10% loans to women, youth and PWDs.

However, in her contribution, the former Tanzania ambassador to Kenya, Dr Pindi Chana, commended the government for setting the interest-free loans  which have been sustainable from 1993 to the recipients , making a comparison in the East African Community (EAC).

She braced the idea of having uniform guidelines that will govern the 10% loans and also recommended that the groups entitled for the loans should involve members with common goals in undertaking economic projects in order for them to equally benefit from disbursement.

Moreover , Mr. Khalfan Abdallah urged authorities responsible with disbursement of interest-free loans to reduce systemic bureaucracy which sometimes prevents the intended groups from benefiting the  allocated funds.

In summary the facilitator of the debate, Ms. Iman Hatibu commended the initiatives by UNATZ, PF and PO-RALG and stressed that formulation of uniform guidelines will establish procedures for beneficiaries to access loans and set friendly repayment time-frame.

“Systems should be put in place to avoid defaulters and ensure that the funds revolve and develop sustainability for the future generation.”

I4ID has completed a programme on using an “iterative programming and adaptive management approach “. The programme worked through problems that connected with and mobilised the interest and capabilities of relevant stakeholders in Tanzania to develop feasible solutions, that are scalable and replicable and deliver inclusive development outcomes. The programme aims were to explore new ways of tackling societal wicked development problems in selected areas, such as solid waste management in an urban setting, inclusive education, inclusive investment facilitation approached, menstrual health management, women urban vendors and urban spatial development.

Implemented in an agile manner, the programme used flexible monitoring and learning approaches and tools to track progress to understand how and why change has (or has not) emerged. As the programme, comes to a close, it summarises the experiences on lessons learned about M&E in an adaptive programme. Presented in a blog format, 7 takeaways are outlined with the aim of provoking further dialogue and critical input from fellow development practitioners across the globe. More (PDF)

(Gloria Sikustahili, Julie Adkins, Japhet Makongo & Simon Milligan)

“Improved Opportunities and Obstacles to Development (O&OD) is a methodology to build and sustain collaborative relationships between Local Government Authorities (LGAs) and community for better service delivery and local development by empowering communities and promoting Community Initiatives (CIs). It allows the people, LGA and other stakeholders to support one another to realise better service delivery and local development”. This was said by Dr. Mpamila M. Madale, the Rector of The Local Government Training Institute (LGTI) when officiating the improved O&OD training to Policy Forum members of the Local Governance Working Group (LGWG).

He further noted that given the mandate that LGTI has as the Lead Training Institute (LTI), they are the core trainers for the Improved O&OD training.

Policy Forum rendered support to LGTI to conduct a training on Improved O&OD to its Local Governance Working Group (LGWG) members for five days from 21st  to 25th September 2020 at Royal Village Hotel, Dodoma.

The training aims at enabling LGWG members to understand the operationalization of the improved O&OD and how they can foster its implementation at the local level. It is foreseen that after the training, members will be able to share the acquired knowledge to the communities to facilitate their participation in the development ecosystem.

Some members partaking in the training expressed their prospects after the exercise. Alice Hannington from CARE International stated that understanding Improved O&OD will help her organisation to develop programs which will empower ‘Community initiatives’ and ‘Self-help efforts’ of people in a particular area. She further expounded that the knowledge would help enable entire members of the LGWG to complement their development interventions in LGAs level.

Moreover, Samwely Mkwatwa  from ActionAid Tanzania also specified that the improved O&OD methodology will supplement their current engagements which aim at empowering community initiatives in different districts where ActionAid Tanzania is working for instance Mafia district.

Since the improved O&OD is the methodology to strengthen LGAs' capacity to grasp the reality in villages/Mitaa and design community development projects based on reflection of the reality of the people in each LGA,  it then facilitates community initiatives towards their own development thus leading to sustainable development. This process enables the government to promote those self-help efforts of the communities, nurture them and establish a collaborative relationship to realise better service delivery and local development.

As opposed to the convectional O&OD which was  just a participatory and budgeting methodology, the improved O&OD takes a holistic approach to establish collaborative relationships between the government and communities by strengthening LGAs' capacity in identifying and encouraging community initiatives as well as empowering communities to implement and complete those initiatives. Hence, communities themselves prepares plan and implement their initiatives for attaining better life in a sustainable manner.

As indicated in the National Environmental Policy of 1997, Tanzania faces several environmental challenges which include land degradation, lack of accessible good quality water for both rural and urban habitants; loss of biodiversity, deteriorations of aquatic systems, deforestation, environmental pollutions, climate change and a scant financial resource to address these challenges.

The impacts of environmental degradation affect vital sectors that have direct effects to agriculture, food systems and people’s livelihoods.

The findings of a study that was conducted by ANSAF in partnership with the Vice President’s Office were presented at the Policy Forum Breakfast Debate held on August 28 , 2020 which was the first time to physically convene for the People’s and Policy dialogue since the outbreak of the global pandemic in March 2020. A researcher on natural resources, environmental management and climate change whom was consulted to undertake the study , Abdallah Henku highlighted that in order to address the financial related challenges in facilitating environmental conservation in the country, the Government has put in place a number of measures including enactment of Environmental Management, 2004 (CAP 191) which has established the National Environmental Trust Fund (NETF) under Section 213-215, as public fund which operates not for profit and governed by the Board of Trustees.

He further expounded that the National Environment Trust Fund (NETF) is strategically set as a financier mechanism to provide long term reliable and sustainable financial support to the environmental conservation and climate change adaptation matters in Tanzania mainland.

Some of the functions of the Trust Fund include the facilitation of researches that propose further requirements of environmental management, fostering capacity building, conferring environmental awards, issuing environmental publications, providing scholarships, promoting and assisting through grants community based environmental programmes.

Despite the critical role of NETF, the Trust Fund has not been able to execute its mandates effectively among other reasons being inadequate financial resources.

Moreover, Fazal Issa Executive Director at the Sokoine Memorial Foundation stated that seeking external mobilization of funds as well as accredited entities to support the Trust Fund without was of paramount significance.

Fazal advised on learning how trust funds from neighbouring countries including Kenya and Rwanda operate and suggested that environmental polluting penalties could be the best sources of revenue for the fund.

He continued by mentioning that the CRDB Bank was an accredited part of the national implementing entities and that the President’s Office Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) was in the accreditation process. And the European Union (EU) provides over $300 million to the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) which could be considered for the funding of the trust fund.

Significantly, Fazal explicated that the alternative sources of funding for the Trust Fund should not burden taxpayers and instead focus on revenue from Environmental Management related Fees and Charges.

 

Policy Forum is pleased to announce the newly elected board of directors for 2020/22. Elected by 44 members at the Annual General Meeting held in Dodoma , Tanzania. The incoming board has four (4) returning members and three (3) appointments. The returning board members include :

  • Save the Children – Angela Makota
  • PELUM Tanzania – Donati Senzia
  • Legal & Human Rights Center – Advocate Anna Henga
  • Wajibu Institute of Public Accountability – Moses Kimaro

New board members include:

  • Action Aid Tanzania – Jovina Nawenzake
  • Shule Direct – Fatma Kauga
  • CADA – Peter A. Matonyi

According to the newly adopted Constitution of Policy Forum, the AGM has mandate to appoint the chairperson and the treasurer of the network. Donati Senzia of PELUM was appointed the Chairperson and Fatma Kauga of Shule Direct was appointed the treasurer.

To reach those who are furthest behind in society, it is important to institute a system of just and fair social economic development. This is key especially during these tough times of the COVID-19 pandemic where global health and economic systems have been significantly disrupted. Through the years that I have been working with communities, I have observed how important it is to have groups of people who are empowered and have a voice and the capacity of being active players in raising concerns that affects their wellbeing. In this regard therefore, while pursuing a ‘leaving no one behind’ agenda it is paramount to ensure that community members who are most vulnerable are empowered.  

The year 2020 marks a decade of action towards attaining the 17 global goals for Sustainable Development. World leaders have been called to deliver the SDGs by 2030 and to announce actions they are taking to advance the agenda. The implementation of SDGs commenced in January 2016 with a view of accelerating global actions to end poverty, create prosperity and protect the planet. As opposed to MDGs, SDGs are shaped with a unique character of being holistic and universality, bringing onboard people, prosperity, planet, peace and partnerships. The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres asserted that “The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals are our collective response to building a fair globalization”. This implies that, the national, regional and global collective actions must be well coordinated to ensure SDGs are attained and the promise of having a fair globalization where no one is left behind is achieved by 2030.

Thus, as the pledge to “leaving no one behind” connotes the commitment made by the world leaders, it is an undoubted that people who are the most marginalized cannot be passive and must be empowered and engaged in the monitoring, review and implementation of SDGs so that the realisation of these global goals reach first those who are furthest behind. To advance this, citizen engagement approaches must then be employed, one of the approaches that has been widely used by different development practitioners is Social Accountability.

Social Accountability (SA) encourages citizens to proactively demand for accountability on the use of public resources. It emphasizes the inclusion and participation of citizen particularly those who are marginalized, those who are more vulnerable with social stress and high chances of missing the benefits of services provided by the government. The World Bank (2004) defines Social accountability as actions initiated by citizen groups to hold public officials, politicians, and public service providers to account for their conduct and performance in terms of delivering services, improving people's welfare and protecting people's rights.

The common tools used to deploy social accountability include public expenditure tracking, participatory policymaking and budgeting, citizen monitoring and evaluation of services that promote transparency and accountability in budgeting and service delivery. For a successful social accountability intervention, there must be an enabling environment guided by four pillars elucidated in detail below. In light of those pillars the nexus between the social accountability and aspiration of SDGs to leaving no one behind will be established.

The first pillar of social accountability demands having organized and capable citizens groups and a government that is engaging. It is a truism that unorganized citizens can neither exercise their rights nor be able to participate in governance processes including holding duty bearers to account on the use of public resources allocated for service delivery or to ensure progressive and constructive relationships.

Thus, communities must know what SDGs are and what they aim to achieve and hence contribute to it. For example, at the very grass root level, citizens can participate through attending village meetings and it is through such platforms they would know what the government aspires to achieve locally, nationally and globally. However, if the existing structures limit this, it would be difficult for the voices of vulnerable communities to be heard.

The opposite is also true. In my experience through conducting social accountability interventions in Tanzania, I have witnessed that in areas where people were not part of the planning process, delays in development projects and sometimes reluctance by communities to support development projects is commonly experienced. This is no different when it comes to SDGs, communities must be empowered so that they clearly understand what they will offer and hence contributing to their realisation and by doing so the aspiration of inclusiveness will be attained.

The second pillar is responsive government, this is vital to enable social accountability and so is to the implementation of SDGs. Given that the government is the primary actor responsible to deliver SDGs by 2030, it ought to be responsive and ensure that it creates democratic spaces for its people and avail information related to the implementation of the SDGs of which citizen will use to monitor its realisation.

Last year I got the opportunity to participate in the CSO taskforce which was responsible for the country SDGs implementation report writeup (Voluntary National Review report). One of the major gaps observed included the understanding of the SDGs by the communities and mostly the vulnerable groups. This posed challenges into measuring the extent to which the implementation of the SDGs in the country has achieved towards elevating the marginalized groups.  Considering that 2030 is just ten years away, it is vital that the information related to SDGs is trickled down to the very grassroot communities so that they own the goals and hence take an active role towards contributing in their review, monitoring and implementation.

The third pillar encourages access to information, the importance of accessing reliable and credible information to exert social accountability cannot be overstated. Governments are obliged to avail information which would enable citizens and other civic actors to constructively engage in the course of participating in the development agenda including SDGs. In light of the experience shared above, CSO actors encountered a challenge of getting latest, credible and reliable information during the process of developing the report on VNR for SDGs, such information would gauge the status of SDGs implementation in the country, as a result we were required to rely on outdated information.  Although this was not the case in all goals, goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institution) posed a huge challenge regarding information on implementation progress – this challenge was as well acknowledged by the government in their SDGs VNR report.

The fourth pillar acknowledges the role of culture and context within which SA is practiced. Social accountability requires cultural relevance, it must be understood and framed according to the unique values, language, and practice of the people within which the initiative is taking place. This is the best way through which the practices of social accountability can be initiated, mainstreamed, accepted and sustained in each context. Given that Tanzania is a Swahili speaking nation, deliberate actions must be taken by the government to translate the SDGs to be popularized and to fit our context. This will not only increase understanding of the goals by the communities but also enhances the participation and ownership.

To wrap up on the pillars and the nexus between social accountability and SDGs, it is important to note that, the four pillars of Social Accountability are interrelated, thus, for the social accountability ecosystem and as one of the approaches to empowering marginalized communities, each pillar prerequisite conditions must be observed to consent a systemic operation of the social accountability.

In line with this, Civil Society Organizations which have traditionally been working to empower communities must couple the efforts by the government. Their interventions, therefore, must demonstrate community empowerment to ensure attaining of milestones at the local level where most marginalized communities reside.

Community empowerment, therefore, should be more than the involvement, participation or engagement of communities. It should demonstrate community ownership and action that explicitly aims at social and political change. It should denote the ability of re-negotiating power in order to gain more control, and thus if some people are going to be empowered, then others will be sharing their existing power and giving some of it up (Baum, 2008). It is imperative to note that in empowering communities, power shift must be concentrated into complementing marginalized capacities to be able to organize themselves so as to take more control in making important decisions that affect their lives. This will include deciding on how resources can be distributed and allocated to serve their interest which in turn will uplift their welfare.

Once communities feel empowered, they will be able to organize into capable groups which will be at the forefront of demanding for accountability, this will include the ability to gather information relating to SDGs and use such information to directly engage with duty bearers and demand that the programmes or projects implemented serves community interests in order to leave no one behind. For instance, SDG 3 on good health and wellbeing – encourages communities to be in a position of linking what targets are set and how budgets have been allocated and distributed to ensure the realization of the same.

I therefore conclude by insisting that achievement of inclusive and people centered development, a kind of development that considers those who are furthest behind, communities must be empowered. As highlighted above, application of community empowerment tools must deliberately continue to be employed by all actors in the development ecosystem. This would not only bring about fairness in the development but also reducing inequality gap. Thus, I call upon all actors involved in the monitoring, review and implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development to accelerate efforts through putting in place a well-coordinated mechanism while ensuring creation of community spaces for marginalized to engage is maintained so that no one is left behind.

About the author

Prisca Kowa is a dedicated development practitioner with advanced expertise in public policy, governance, and accountability. She currently works at Policy Forum as a Senior Officer for Local Governance and Stakeholders Relations.

Photo credit: Reinout

 

Findings have revealed that the need for promoting women leadership was as important as creating an enabling environment for women to hone their leadership qualities. Despite umpteen measures to empower women and see them in leadership positions, the representation of women in such positions across the globe is quite upsetting. Women make up just 4 percent of CEOs in the world’s 500 top companies, even a lesser percent of heads of government at national level belongs to women and the least percent of international leadership positions is occupied by women in the world today.

Absence of gender equality in leadership positions not only hampers the due progress in every sphere but also costs the global economy substantially. Hence, there is a need to promote women leadership. Corporate houses or companies need the best of leaders and it will not be fulfilled if the recruitment pool excludes women. Statistics show that women have not yet reached their full potential in leadership positions.

A lot of debate has sparked up because now more than ever people are seeing the relevance of women in leadership.

Africa still is the continent with the lowest number of women leaders on the globe. It is high time for the Africans to speak out for their beloved continent and find pragmatic solutions to this problem. Women are supposed to be part of the decision-making process across all African countries. Nobody can speak to the issues of women more than women and women have expertise in various fields and so they can speak on other issues as well.

Speaking over the weekend through a virtual debate organised by  African Young Ladies Change Makers Network, that involved young ladies from six African countries namely Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, The Gambia, Nigeria  and Ghana, a Tanzanian Lady, who is also a Gender Focal Point with the Policy Forum in Tanzania, Ms. Iman Hatibu has urged Tanzanian young ladies to vie for high political positions in the coming general elections so the they can represent the unrepresented big part of women is society.

“There are many challenges facing women in our community but are not spoken out, are not revealed because there is no enough representation in decision and policy making platforms,” she explained.

Ms. Hatibu further noted that the challenges facing women will only be echoed out by women themselves. “That’s why we encourage 

women to be in leadership, decisions, and policy making positions so that they can be in good position to fight and defend for their essential rights and needs.”

She has, however, advised her fellow young ladies and women that before vying for any political posts they first need to be knowledgeable and well informed on different matters going on in the communities they are living.

And because of that, Hatibu has said that there was need of having a dialogue that would raise awareness and find ways on how women can effectively participate in political platforms, nationally, regionally, and internationally.

“I call upon role model women leaders to render support by grooming the emerging young lady leaders, so that they can also become successful and role models like them,” she urged.

“I also urge young ladies and women who aspire for political posts in the coming general elections to seek for intellectual support as well so that they can learn crucial leadership skills.”

For her part, Angela-Genevieve Nhlamulo Ngobe from South Africa said “A Woman is not just a female but she is a person who has choices. Choices means she has the ability to pursue every opportunity given to her. Political office like motherhood is a choice a woman can make. I think it is very important for women to lead and take up politics because politics has the power to shape their lives.”

She further noted that women's voices are important because they bring their lived experiences to the table which allows policies regarding women to be shaped by women. I believe that a woman feminist voice brings a distinct voice on how to govern. Women have always played a role in leading and shaping the continent

However, their labours have been erased and so have their belief that a woman cannot lead. I think it's time for African women to come in front and take their place in political offices. “I believe that a woman can do it all and be successful.”

Benevolence Sindwe Mbano from Zimbabwe believed in the power of dialogue. “Women should come out and speak about their issues and challenges facing them to encourage each other and find solutions together.”

According to a new International Labour Organisation (ILO) report published for International Women’s Day on 8 March,2020, women are still underrepresented at the top, a situation that has changed very little in the last 30 years. Fewer than one third of managers are women, although they are likely to be better educated than their male counterparts. The report shows generally that education is not the main reason for lower employment rates and lower pay of women, but rather that women do not receive the same dividends for education as men.

“A number of factors are blocking equality in employment, and the one playing the largest role is caregiving." Manuela Tomei, Director, ILO Conditions of Work and Equality Department.

The Quantum Leap report shows that achieving gender equality will mean policy changes and actions in a range of mutually reinforcing areas, and it points to measures that can lead towards a transformative and measurable agenda for gender equality.

 “We need to implement a transformative agenda that includes enforcement of laws and regulations – perhaps we may even need to revisit those laws and regulations - backed by investment in services that level the playing field for women, such as care and social protection, and a more flexible approach to both working hours and working careers. And there is the persistent attitudinal challenge of attitudes to women joining the workforce and their place in it,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder.

 Meanwhile, the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action flagged 12 key areas where urgent action was needed to ensure greater equality and opportunities for women and men, girls and boys.

It also laid out concrete ways for countries to bring about change. Various Gander and Women Rights Stakeholders works with governments and partners to ensure such change is real for women and girls around the world. Education is essential for women to reach gender equality and become leaders of change.

According to the Beijing Platform, once in leadership roles, women make a difference. But they are under-represented as voters and in top positions, whether in elected office, the civil service, corporate boardrooms or academia.

The media plays a significant role in perpetuating and challenging social norms that condone discrimination or violence against women. It can objectify women but also showcase strong women leaders and protagonists who can become role models in a society.

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