As a young woman focused development organization, we strongly believe that young women from marginalized communities have a critical role in influencing decision making, governance and policy processes in their communities and at national level. Exercising young women’s agency to bring about Transformative Justice that delivers gender justice in our communities is one of the ways in which young women influence status quo.

Over the years Institute for Young Women Development (IYWD) worked with Traditional Leaders to ensure that traditional courts use a Rights-based Approach (RBA). Since 2017, we implemented an intervention titled United Against Patriarchy. United Against Patriarchy built on the work we have done in previous years and expanded our reach and efforts to see traditional courts upholding young women’s rights as provided for in the constitution of Zimbabwe.

A critical mass of young women paralegals organised under Peace Committees was mobilised in Mashonaland Central Province. The young women are exercising their agency in championing women’s rights in traditional courts by challenging historical norms that reinforce patriarchal ideologies. It is against this background that this publication celebrates the developments made thus far in the advancement of women’s rights in traditional courts. Through case analysis, it surfaces the realities of young women and women, the injustices they suffer and how, using an RBA and feminist lens in the traditional courts, some remarkable landmark rulings have been made in some traditional courts. The peace committee members have been tirelessly working together with their traditional leaders who are progressively redefining the course of justice towards a gender just world.

Through this publication and the transformational narratives it contains, we believe that a lot of work is still needed in our traditional courts to ensure that young women and women’s rights are upheld. We are confident that this publication will set a benchmark for current and future generations of young women and Traditional Chiefs in their quest for a gender responsive traditional justice delivery system. It is also our hope that this publication will trigger and inspire our justice service delivery system to advocate for the rights of women by dismantling patriarchal forms of judgements.

Read the full publication here (9MB PDF)

Source: Institute for Young Women Development

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