The OECD Development Centre’s Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) is a cross-country measure of discrimination against women in social institutions across 160 countries. In their profile of Tanzania, they categorise the country under the SIGI category of ‘High’, stating that ‘the 1977 Constitution of Tanzania prohibits gender-based discrimination but the country’s legislation has yet to be adjusted to support this principle’. This assessment is backed-up by the data collected by several other international organisations, which has found that:
· Women in Tanzania earn only 68% of what men earn whilst performing similar work.
· Approximately a quarter of Tanzanians believe that boys’ education is more important than girls’.
· Only 22% of graduates are female.
With statistics such as these standing before young women, CDI’s Entrepreneurship Project has been focusing upon how we can encourage the empowerment of female entrepreneurs who are striving for social change.
One of the areas we particularly addressed was the fact that the female demographic within the DAREntreprisers course is so low: only 24%. This is a topic our Project team has frequently discussed, but it was especially constructive to hear the thoughts of the participants themselves. One specific reason they articulated was that, in Tanzania, there is still the prevailing expectation that a woman’s role is primarily within her household. When a student’s university term ends, it is expected that she will return home and assist with the day to day upkeep of her family household. Consequently, girls are not often supported by their families to apply for opportunities such as the DAREnterprisers course, and so either reject the place or drop out.
Another reason for the low rate of female applications which we considered was that the three tracks of the course (Manufacturing & Urban Living, WaSH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) and Off-Grid Energy) may be perceived as ‘masculine’. All of these tracks imply an engineering, STEM focus which, traditionally, has been dominated by men.
There is always more that organisations can do to encourage female empowerment in the workplace, but the ideas generated through our discussion during and after the Workshop are steps which CDI will continue to explore and implement. The SIGI quite rightly points out that ‘as underlying drivers of gender inequalities, discriminatory social institutions perpetuate gender gaps in development areas, such as education, employment and health, and hinder progress towards rights-based social transformation that benefits both women and men.’ It is CDI’s vision to ensure that both our projects and our organisation as a whole are spaces in which such transformation and positive development can occur.
 World Economic Forum, 2013, p. 354
 UNICEF, 2010, p. 28
 UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 2015