NATIONAL Cohesion is one of the social qualities for which Tanzanians are both highly respected within and beyond the country, and from which the citizens draw much pride.
Components of the cohesion include the principle of equality amongst the people, across, among other factors, gender.
This means, in principle that, what counts is that a person is primarily a human being, and that being male or female is incidental.
Whether someone is born a male or female is actually the prerogative of the Almighty God, the Creator.
So, except for gender-conditioned aspects like pregnancy and subsequent motherhood, as well as a married woman being referred to as a wife whereas the male person who becomes her matrimonial companion bears the title “husband”, they are first and foremost human persons.
Regrettably, but more tragically scandalously, the tendency of perceiving males to be superior to women has held sway, for which Tanzania hasn’t been an exception.
Yet, to our credit, we have been striving to promote the “all human beings are equal” principle. It hasn’t been an easy task, though, given fairly solid male chauvinistic tendencies, quite many of which are rooted in cultural and traditional set-ups.
Still, considerable headway has been made, examples of which end include a concerted campaign to curb cultural practices under which girls are treated as objects of marriage, from which mainly male parents benefit from dowry.
Progressively, increased enrollment of girls in schools has produced successful professionals in various fields, whose competence, in some cases over-shines males.
It was very unfortunate that the Uvinza Member of Parliament, Ms Hasna Mwilima, recently made tasteless remarks about female air hostesses of the national flag carrier, Air Tanzania Company Limited.
It was to the effect that they weren’t very appealing. Predictably, the remarks triggered an avalanche of criticisms in various forums, notably social media sites.
A delightful development, lately, was the apology the legislator pronounced in Parliament, to fellow MPs and Tanzanians as a whole, but more specifically, to fellow women.
She deserves congratulations because admission of wrong-doing is a manifestation of humility.
More significantly, the move neutralizes the absolutely false notion that aspects like facial outlook, complexion and height are crucial yardsticks of the value of females.
And let’s remind ourselves, by the way, that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.