Remarks by UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Zlatan Milišić on the Occasion of International Women’s Day 2020

Women’s rights have made significant progress in recent decades, from the abolition of discriminatory laws to increased numbers of girls in school.

  • Your Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania;
  • Hon. Ummy Mwalimu, Minister of Health, Community Development, Gender, Seniors and Children;
  • Hon. Anthony Mtaka, Simiyu Regional Commissioner;
  • Ms. Hodan Addou, UN Women Representative in Tanzania;
  • Government officials
  • Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
  • UN colleagues;
  • Community Leaders,
  • Members of the Media,
  • Invited Guests,
  • Mabibi na Mabwana,

Habari za Asubuhi na Asalaam Aleikhum!

Wanawake Oyeee!

Wanawake Oyeee!

Asanteni Sana!

I would like to start by wishing all of you a very happy International Women’s Day!

Today marks the climax of several weeks of activities that have been taking place around the country as part of this year’s national commemorations of International Women’s Day.

Under the national theme of ‘Equality Generation for the current and Future Development’, these activities brought together a wide variety of stakeholders to reflect on the fundamental role that women play in Tanzania’s developing economy and how to further empower them and enhance their participation in various sectors.

Women in Tanzania constitute more than half of the country’s population which is why it is vital that we continue implementing programs to enable their equal participation in social, economic and political sectors.

The UN in Tanzania will continue working towards empowering women for the achievement of gender equality by 2030 as called for in the in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Malengo Ya Maendeleo Endelevu.

Madam Vice President, I extend greetings from the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, to Tanzania. Allow me to read his message for this year’s women’s day.

Women’s rights have made significant progress in recent decades, from the abolition of discriminatory laws to increased numbers of girls in school. But we now face a powerful pushback. Legal protections against rape and domestic abuse are being diluted in some countries; women’s sexual and reproductive rights are under threat.

All this is because gender equality is fundamentally a question of power. Centuries of discrimination and deep-rooted patriarchy have created a yawning gender power gap in our economies, our political systems, our corporations and our culture.

This profoundly affects us all and is a barrier to solving many of the challenges and threats we face, from achieving a fair globalization that works for everyone, to ending the epidemic of violence against women and building peaceful and secure societies. We must also urgently address the digital gender divide that threatens to entrench gender inequality in societies and economies for decades to come.  

With women still occupying just one quarter of seats in parliaments around the world, political representation is the clearest evidence of the gender power gap. That is why gender parity at the United Nations is one of my top priorities, which has already led to the achievement of parity at senior levels, two years ahead of our target. Going forward, I will do everything in my power to make sure women are represented in all decision-making at the United Nations, including in peace processes. I will also advocate with Member States for the repealing of all discriminatory laws, for women’s equal participation in all spheres, for increased protection from violence, and for more inclusive economies.

Gender equality is a means of redefining and transforming power that will yield benefits for all.  It is time to stop trying to change women, and to start changing the systems and power imbalances that prevent them from achieving their potential.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year is very special in the global gender space and in particular for the women’s rights advocates and all partners working for the achievement of equal opportunities for women and men as the world commemorates 25 years of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995).

The Beijing platform is a blueprint that has remained relevant to our current efforts to remove all obstacles to women’s active participation in all spheres of public and private life through ensuring a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political decision-making.

The anniversary therefore represents opportunities for all stakeholders to take stock of the progress made in realizing the principle of shared power and responsibility between women and men at home, in the workplace and in the wider national and international communities.

Tanzania is a signatory to the Beijing Platform for Action and other global instruments that promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. I would like to congratulate the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania for its efforts towards the achievement of gender equality under the leadership of President John Pombe Magufuli.

For example, in 2017 the government launched the National Plan of Action to End Violence Against Women and Children. The plan runs until 2022 and provides a framework for eliminating violence against women and children in Tanzania. We are happy as the UN system to be taking part in its implementation through several UN agencies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I reaffirm the United Nations’ commitment to supporting the government’s work on achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls.  I am happy to say that all of the areas that UN Agencies are working in through the United Nations Development Assistance Plan (UNDAP II) are in line with government’s priorities, and also in line with the underlying principle of the SDGs which is ‘leaving no-one behind’.

It is very fitting that today’s guest of honor is Mama Samia Suluhu Hassan, the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania. Mama Samia, yourself and your fellow women leaders in the government, the private sector, civil society and other areas of society role models for young women and girls all over the country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I mentioned earlier, this year marks five years since we launched Agenda 2030 and the UN Secretary-General has called for all of us to partake in a decade of action to deliver on the SDGs.

By 2030, we should live in a world where women and girls have access to education, healthcare and decent work.

By 2030, we should to live in a world where women and girls live free from violence and are equally represented in political and economic decision-making processes.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have ten years left to deliver on SDG 5.

Let us all refocus and intensify our efforts to empower women and girls and accelerate action for achieving gender equality by 2030.

Asanteni sana!


UN entities involved in this initiative
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations