Many in the United States would say that in order for historically oppressed groups to gain equal status, they must be part of the conversation and have a seat at the table. As a result, policies will change and progress will be made. Political empowerment is a game-changer for women, and because of this, we’re seeing an upswell of women running for elected office in the United States.
A similar narrative is playing out in Tanzania. We recently surveyed 33 of our Community Health Educators (CHEs) who are part of our Improving Women’s Health Program and found that 85% currently hold a government position and 2/3 have increased their involvement in government or community organizations since they entered the program. They hold these positions in addition to their work as CHEs. (You can see a full list of the women and the positions they hold here.) We celebrate this development! Here’s a look at five of the Community Health Educator’s and the positions they hold:
The above examples show that women participating in Empower Tanzania programs have become active in their communities. They meet regularly with local officials to describe problems and possible solutions. They have been elected to positions of power and are serving on local government and community committees. They have succeeded in generating incomes for their families and have a seat at the table.
Gender equality is an enormous and nuanced topic across the globe. We want to help the women we work with develop confidence and skills, ultimately increasing their chances for successful mobilization efforts.
We continue to work towards creating the conditions under which women are individually empowered and hold the belief that they can successfully mobilize to gain gender equality and social justice. Working on such issues is a long walk in one direction. We’re honored to continue the journey.