Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – Tanzania’s first female president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, this week nominated a woman as defense minister – the latest in a series of appointments of women to top government positions.
Hassan has been appointed as part of a reshuffle in the second cabinet since the death of his predecessor, John Magufuli, earlier this year.
Hassan, who was sworn in as Tanzania’s first female defense and national services minister, said she had decided to dispel the myth that women could not hold the job.
“I have decided to dispel the long-standing myth that the Ministry of Defense must have a man with muscles. The minister’s job in that office is not to carry guns or artillery, “Hassan said.
Gender activists welcomed the appointment but said more needed to be done to address the country’s gender inequality.
Anna Henga, head of the Law and Human Rights Center, said laws such as the Marriage Act and the Education Act, which put women in lower decision-making positions, need to be amended. He added that the government should allocate funds through the Ministry of Health so that people can be educated that women can also be leaders.
Analysts say increasing women’s political representation at the national level may not automatically lead to more power in women’s daily lives, especially in higher-level societies.
Sociologist Nasr Kitunda says gender should be irrelevant.
“I think it tries to show that there is an aspect of gender equality even though I am not a gender believer. The primary criteria should be someone’s performance and their skills in implementing those responsibilities, ”Kitunda said.
For Tanzanian human rights activist Ika Peter, hiring more women leaders is positive but will give others a chance to show off their leadership skills.
The tax hike brings the number of women ministers in Hassan’s government to eight.