Women play a substantial role in Tanzania’s economy and are more active in agriculture, which accounts for 82 percent of the labor force. Of 17.8 million economically active people, 16.9 million are considered employed, and of these, women constitute 50.6 percent. The overall labor force participation rate (including the informal sector) of women is at 80.7 percent slightly higher than that of men (79.6 percent) (United Republic of Tanzania 2002a).
The distribution of men and women across the sectors is uneven: Women are slightly in the majority in agriculture (52 percent versus 48 percent) and in trade (55 percent versus 45 percent), whereas men
dominate in manufacturing, construction, transport, and finance. The distribution of economic activity by type of employment is uneven too, showing important gender differences. Only 4.0 percent of employed women are in paid jobs, in either the formal or informal sector, compared with 9.8 percent of men (table 1), and a scant 2 percent of Tanzania’s businesses operate legally (figure 1). Gender disparities are also evident in formal sector employment, where men account for 71 percent of workers.
Men tend to be much better represented among regular waged employees than women. In the manufacturing sector where the waged employment rate is highest, only 18.6 percent of employees are women.