Statement on International Women’s Day 2019

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission joins the nation and the rest of the international community in celebrating the International Women’s Day running under the theme, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change” placing innovation efforts by women and girls at the heart of all efforts that are channelled to achieve gender equality.

Over the years, women have proved that they are capable in economic, social and political spheres of life and their efforts have made the world a better place to live. Section 56 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and other regional and international treaties that Zimbabwe is party to have guarantee equality and non-discrimination before the law.

However, the lived experiences of many women in Zimbabwe have limited their ability to be equal with men for them to excel in all spheres of life. Women and girls suffer disproportionately as existing inequalities are exacerbated by deterioration of current economic environment and acute poverty. This has drawn back the potential of women to meaningfully contribute to development on an equal basis with their male counterparts. Women continue to experience inequalities including limited opportunities in accessing services, violation of their basic human rights such as the right to food and water as well as the right to health care which accords them value and dignity.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission is encouraged by the recent commitment by President Mnangagwa to continue working towards full equality and further empowerment of girls and women in Zimbabwe. The country has already set the tone for realisation of equality and gender balance through the Constitution and commitment to show political will by the leadership.

There is need to avail financial support, skills development and the appointment of women to critical positions of influence among other measures in order for the country to benefit from the full potential of women as equals in development. ZHRC calls on the State to expedite the alignment of legislation such as the Children’s Amendment Bill and the Marriages Amendment Bill to the Constitution in order to adequately protect women and girls. All stakeholders should collaborate in efforts towards empowering women in all spheres of life in order to realise the global theme of thinking equality and being innovative in order to realise the desired change. The harmonisation of all these efforts will lead to gender equality and the full empowerment of women and girls in line with sustainable development goal number 5 on gender equality. Women have proved that with a supportive and conducive environment they can champion innovative efforts that improve the world and indeed the future is female.

Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission