Institute for Young Women’s Development (IYWD) 2022 Independence Day Statement #WhatWomenWant

The Institute for Young Women’s Development (IYWD) joins other progressive proponents in the feminist and pro-democracy movement in commemorating Zimbabwe’s 42 years of independence from colonial rule. This year’s commemorations are being held under the theme, “Zim@ 42- Leaving no one and no place behind”.

We salute and will forever cherish the invaluable contributions by many courageous young women and women who participated in the struggle against oppression, injustice and discrimination, envisaging an inclusive and developmental state in which women’s rights are promoted, respected, protected and fulfilled.

We firmly believe that a number of changes are needed in order for no one and no place to be left behind towards realising the aspirations of those who fought for a better Zimbabwe. The changes range from policy, how we use and care for our resources, values, attitudes, beliefs and norms to how we view and treat one another. Such transformational change requires the collective power and solidarity of every individual, family, and every part of our communities, country and the world at large.

As Zimbabwean Women, We Want and herein demand;

  • Public services that work, are affordable and/or free, and easily accessible, in both rural and urban areas, and are responsive to our rights and needs. These include clean water, decent housing, electricity, streetlights and quality universal health care, and reproductive health care services.
  • Full and equal participation of women in all decision-making structures and processes that impact our lives. From community management structures to district development to local and national governance, we want full and equal rights to participate without fear, or violence
  • A transparent and accountable State that utilises our national resources towards goods and services that expand ALL women’s lives.
  • A demilitarized State, one that honors the inherent rights of people. We demand accountability for all human rights violations that have happened in Zimbabwe for many decades. The culture of impunity, especially for sexual violence against women must end.
  • An economy that works for us as women. One that does not depend on the exploitation of our unpaid care labour, but recognises, reduces, and redistributes women and girls’ care and domestic work burdens. We demand policies that protect the rights of women in the informal economy as well as women smallholder farmers who are the majority and keep the Zimbabwean economy ticking.
  • A country where ALL women can make choices over their bodies and access sexual health services without fear of reprisal or attack. We demand full rights and freedoms for all sexual minorities.
  • A society where women are free to engage in artistic and cultural expression, without fear of reprisals.
  • That the government uses the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to uproot the exposed underlying factors which make women and girls vulnerable to ill-health and economic exclusion, in order to really promote and protect our human rights.

Source: IYWD

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