Remarks by UN Women Representative, Ms. Hodan Addou International Women’s Day 2020

2020 is a massive year for gender equality whose benefits are not just for women and girls, but all lives will be changed with a gender equal and fairer world.

  • Her Excellency, Samia Hassan Suluhu, the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania;
  • Honorable Ummy Ally Mwalimu (MP), the Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children;
  • Honorable Ministers;
  • Honourable Anne Makinda Retired Speaker of Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania;
  • Mr Zlatan Milisic Resident Coordinator United Nations in Tanzania;
  • Her Excellency Pamela O’Donnel High Commissioner for Canada in Tanzania;
  • His Excellency Manifredo Fanti the EU Ambassador in Tanzania;
  • Honourable Members of Parliament;
  • Honorable Anthony Mtaka, Regional Commissioner for Simiyu;
  • Honorable  Regional Commissioners;
  • Dr. John Jingu, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children;
  • Permanent Secretaries representing various Ministries;
  • Regional Chairperson for Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM);
  • Political Party Leaders;
  • Honorable District Commissioners;
  • Honorable District Council Chairpersons;
  • District Executive Directors;
  • Representatives from the civil society organizations;
  • Religious Leaders;
  • Members of the Media;
  • Invited Guests;

Mabibi na Mabwana;

Habari za Asubuhi!

Asalam Aleikhum;  and a very good morning!

I am happy to be in the beautiful region of Simiyu and would like to recognize women and men from Simiyu and from other regions who have joined to celebrate the climax of International Women’s Day in Tanzania.

I am humbled that among the exhibitors, we have women entrepreneurs from other regions such as Geita, Tabora, Shinyanga, Morogoro, Kagera, Arusha and Mwanza, who are here to show how they are contributing to the development Tanzania, their communities and families.

I would like to thank Hon. Ummy Mwalimu the Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children and her vibrant team; and Hon Anthony Mtaka, the Regional Commissioner for Simiyu for making this day very special for women.

This year is a pivotal year for the advancement of gender equality. It is 25 years since hundreds of women from the across the globe gathered in Beijing in 1995, together with governments and agreed to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. This landmark document remains the world’s most comprehensive and transformative agenda for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

This year is indeed a cause for great celebration, but more importantly, it presents a great opportunity for reflection, to take stock of the progress we have made so far, and strategize on the best way forward.

Tanzania’s report on the review and progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action shows great progress in advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in various sectors. As a country, Tanzania has had many achievements, in the areas of women’s economic empowerment, promoting women’s leadership, the review of discriminatory legislation and women’s access to basic social services. This demonstrates the Government’s strong commitment towards furthering gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Over the years, women in Tanzania have been at the forefront of advocating for equal opportunities in the political and socio-economic sectors. 

Today we celebrate you, Hon Vice President, for your great leadership and for being a role model to many women including young women. Let me also take this opportunity to celebrate ALL women of Tanzania, including those who have influenced progress in various sectors and fields, our local heroines, including young women and girls here in Simiyu.

However, whether it is around the world or right here, despite significant gains, there is still ground to cover in order to fully realize women’s rights, and not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality. 

To reach that goal, we need to work harder to ensure that poverty no longer has a woman’s face. We need to ensure that women truly have equal opportunities to own land and property, to engage in decent work, and to promote better sharing of unpaid care work. We need to overcome persistent challenges so that we finally attain 50/50 representation in leadership spaces, to intensify efforts to prevent violence against women and girls, and we need to appropriately address the various obstacles that prevent some girls from finishing school.

Achieving a greater impact on gender equality will also require new models of finance, new multi-stakeholder partnerships, and reinvigorated political will. We urgently need to accelerate our efforts, through the collective action of the government, civil society, private sector, the United Nations and all relevant actors; because without that, we will not be able to achieve the Strategic Development Goal 5 for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment by 2030. The actions that we take now will determine the prospects of not only the current generation of children, of young women but future generations too.

We remain committed to working with the Government, Civil Society, the Private Sector and all relevant stakeholders in realizing women’s human rights and in improving the lives of all Tanzanian women and girls.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

The Executive Director of UN Women, Dr. 

Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka sends her greetings to you from New York and has requested me to share this message with you:

I quote: 

2020 is a massive year for gender equality whose benefits are not just for women and girls, but all lives will be changed with a gender-equal and fairer world that leaves no one behind. The theme “I am Generation Equality” was chosen to mark 25 years of implementing the Beijing Platform for Action to provide a platform to tackle issues of women across generations, from early to late years, with young women and girls at the centre.

The world has recorded positive achievements to celebrate 25 years after BPfA in 1995. For example, 131 countries have made legal reforms to support gender equality and address discrimination against women and girls. Today, more than three-quarters of countries in the world have in place laws against domestic violence. More girls are in school than ever before, with more women in tertiary education than men globally. There is a 38 per cent drop in the ratio of maternal deaths since 2000.

Despite the progress, we don’t have an equal world at the moment and no country has achieved gender equality. Our best hasn't been good enough. Challenges remain for all countries, although many of them are not insurmountable.

For example, 

  • Despite improved school enrolment, 1 in 10 young women today are still unable to read and write. This has to change in order for girls to play a vital role in technology and innovation.
  • Three-quarters of all parliamentarians in the world are men and overall the proportion of women in managerial positions remains around 27 per cent, even as more women graduate from universities.
  • The same goes for women at the peace negotiation tables, where the vast majority of the negotiators and signatories are men. We know women’s involvement brings more lasting peace agreements.
  • Women and girls use triple the time and energy of boys and men for household and domestic care work. That costs them equal opportunities in education, in the job market and income. Women and girls’ time poverty is a driver of feminization and intergenerational cycle of poverty. Young women raising families are 25 per cent more likely than men to live in extreme poverty, affecting millions of young children, with impacts that last into later life for both mother and child. 

As we celebrate the International Women’s Day, we count on governments; growing support from allies and partners who are ready to tackle barriers against gender equality and women’s rights. We see the driving-will for change across generations and countries. Lessons learnt in the last 25 years have shown us what is needed to accelerate action for equality. Generation Equality is one of our answers and together, we are that generation.

With those remarks, I would like to wish you all a happy International Women’s Day. 

I Thank You. 

Speech by
Hodan Addou
UN Women
Hodan Addou Profile Pic
UN entities involved in this initiative
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations