Women's Human Rights
Gender Equality and Labour Law: Protecting Working Mothers, Girls and Female Persons with Disabilities in Tanzania
Labour law in Tanzania, deriving their legitimacy from the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania 1977 which prohibits gender based discrimination and guarantees equality between men and women, provides for well lettered women’s rights. These rights include the right to paid maternity leave, the right to breast feeding break, the right to flexible working hours, and the right not to work in hazardous environment when expecting. As one would wish these rights to be availed to all female workers in Tanzania, these rights are inaccessible to most female workers in the unregulated informal establishments, currently accounting for more than 70 per cent of all women employed. Unsurprisingly, this precariousness is caused by, among other things, the interplay between discriminatory laws such as
customary laws, traditions and customs subjecting female to male domination leading to husbands’ reluctance to allow their wives or girl children to advance their careers and the ultimate, competing domestic responsibilities. Since access to the protected formal sector, currently accommodating female at less than 30 per cent of all workers, is tied to one’s education and mastery skills, women have been on the periphery. This article argues that in order to realize the Millennium Development Goal Number three geared to promoting gender equality and empowering women by elimination of gender disparity at all levels of education, and realize the Tanzania Vision 2025 which aims at reforming all social relations and processes perpetuating inequality and have a well-educated society, gender equality must be embraced and prioritized in all areas, including protection of women by labour law.
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