THE Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development has called on women rights advocate groups to push for active participation and involvement of more women in key decision-making positions to ensure inequalities associated with gender are addressed.
By Michael Gwarisa
Speaking at the Harare Spotlight Initiative consortium’s commemorations of the Women’s Day celebrations, Harare Metropolitan Provincial Development Officer in the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Mr Ernest Chimboza said it was high time women claim their rightful position at the top table. The Women’s Day commemorations in Zimbabwe are running under the theme “Women’s Rights In Decision Making, Vital Fight Againsit COVID-19”
The theme celebrates tremendous efforts by women and girls in a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Women leaders and women organizations have demonstrated their skills, knowledge and networks to effectively lead in COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
“Today there is more acceptance than ever before that women bring different experiences, perspectives and skills to the table and make irreplaceable contributions to decisions, policies and laws that work better for all,” said Mr Chimboza.
He added that the COVID-19 had exacerbated gender inequalities and gender based violence and more cases of women abuse had been reported during the lockdown period.
“We are currently in the midst of the national lockdown which has been necessitated by widespread infections across the country. It is quite clear that the effects of the lockdown are particularly severe for women and they make up 80% of informal workers whose businesses have been largely affected by lockdown.
“Women’s unpaid care work has been multiplied threefold as commerce and schools closed and men, women, girls and boys are confined to the homes. This has caused a marked increase in domestic violence cases within the homes partly because of inevitable disputes and households and because of scarce resources in the home because of general reduction in economic activities,”
The ministry of women affairs is the one coordinating the Spotlight Initiative in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Hope for Adolescents and Youth Managing Director, Mitchell Ndlovu said gender equality can only be attained through challenging historical injustices and harmful practices that relegate women to duties and roles that are deemed less important.
“We can only achieve sustainable development and peace by drawing on all assets and capacities. In recent decades, we have seen remarkable progress on women rights and leadership but these gains are so far inconsistent and they have sparked a backlash from the entrenched patriarchy. Despite women’s achievements and successes, their voices are still routinely overlooked and their opinions ignored.
[pullquote]”We are all paying the prices of inequality and oppression. Increasing the number of women in decision making positions is essential. As the Harare Spotlight Initiative consortium, we choose to challenge gender bias and inequalities and as a consortium, we have been implementing a project meant to build a women’s movement to reduce the incidence of gender-based violence and all forms of violence,” said Ndlovu.[/pullquote]
She applauded the Harare Spotlight Initiative for giving Harare women the platform to speak and share issues under a women friendly environment.
“The consortium is providing women’s rights advocates, women’s groups and community-based women’s organizations with relevant technical capacity, strengthening them with advocacy, lobbying, action-oriented research and monitoring, thus enabling them to execute their role as change agents.
“Women and girls are empowered to demand accountability for sexual gender violence and harmful practices prevention as well as accessible sexual and reproductive health and gender-based services from responsible institutions and key decision makers. Lets give women a voice, lets continue to empower our girls and women so that they are able to read amplify their voices.”
The consortium is working in partnership with four Community Based Organizations namely Madanhaashe (MACO) and Shanduko Yehupenyu ChildCare (SYCC) in Epworth, Hopley Can Change Initiative (HCCI) and Zivo Aid Group (ZAG) in Hopley. The consortium is providing women’s rights advocates, women’s groups and Community Based Organizations with the relevant technical capacity, strengthening them in advocacy, lobbying, action-oriented research and monitoring thus enabling them to execute their role as change agents.