This week, the President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, announced the appointment of Saada Mkuya as Finance Minister and Asha-rose Migiro as Minister of Constitutional and Legal Affairs. These appointments of two women to powerful government positions are seen as part of an ongoing effort to promote gender equality within Tanzania. Migiro was named Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006, making her the first woman in Tanzania to hold this position. The following year,she was appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and was an Honorary Co-Chair at Women Deliver's first global conference in London.
At the London conference, Migiro, along with her co-chair Mary Robinson, called for immediate action to stop women from dying in pregnancy and childbirth and tasked all conference participants with doing their part to prioritize Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5—the reduction of maternal mortality. This is an issue close to her heart, as Migiro once served as Tanzania's Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children. In her current post, Migiro has pledged to make women's and children's rights a top priority.
"This is a very special honor to all women out there," she said in an interview with Thompson-Reuters. "I promise to work hard to defend their rights in line with the law."
Migiro and Mkuya's appointments are especially promising for women's rights activists, who are currently lobbying for 50-50 representation of women in Tanzanian politics.
Flickr photo via World Economic Forum