On International Women’s Day, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an umbrella body of civil society organisations operating in Zimbabwe, reiterates that women empowerment should be at the core of development efforts.
This year’s International Women’s Day is being commemorated under the theme “Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”.
The theme resonates with our position for an inclusive and equitable society as well as implementation of policies aimed at addressing patriarchy and other factors that have often worked against efforts to empower women in various sectors.
We reiterate that in line with Sections 56 and 80 of the Zimbabwean constitution, women should be afforded “equal opportunities in political, economic and social activities”.
This calls for political will to empower women and address gender imbalances.
It is also incumbent upon political parties to ensure women are given equal opportunities and this calls for a 50-50-gender representation.
Statistics from the 2018 national elections indicate that there is a lot to be done in terms of achieving equal representation in political parties.
Out of 1 652 candidates that contested for seats in the National Assembly, 243 were women. For the Senatorial seats, 146 women out of 290 candidates contested. As for the Local Government elections, women formed 17 percent of the contestants.
We implore the Zimbabwean government and political parties to walk the talk in as far as the issue of equal representation is concerned. So far, while some political parties have fared better than others, the political representation of women remains low across the political divide.
On another note, we remain deeply concerned over the fact that women in Zimbabwe have been at the receiving end of the continued economic meltdown as well as the political crisis in the country.
In some cases, women activists have been at the receiving end of government’s brutality against citizens exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to protest against the multi faceted crisis in Zimbabwe.
Political violence has also disproportionately affected women, as they have been subjected to sexual violence, in addition to physical violence.
Women continue to bear the brunt of the government’s failure to offer basic social services to citizens. In light of this crisis, we reiterate our call for a genuine all stakeholder dialogue as a way of unlocking the crisis in Zimbabwe which continues to affect women as well as the youths.
We demand that the government of Zimbabwe must respect fundamental human rights enshrined in the constitution and fulfill its obligation to ensure a peaceful, equitable and inclusive society.
Locally, Zimbabwe is celebrating the day under the theme, “Gender Mainstreaming and Women Empowerment in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management”.
We call upon the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that women are actively involved in the planning and implementation of climate change mitigation measures as well as to commit resources towards funding climate justice and womens’ rights. Due to their social roles, women (mostly from rural communities) are affected more by effects of climate change such as food insecurity and lack of access to water.
Source: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition