CIVIL Society Organizations (CSOs) championing rights of women and girls have urged rural women and girls to claim their spaces in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) despite challenges they face to be on these platforms.
By Patricia Mashiri
SRHR Africa Trust(SAT)with support of United Nations (UN WOMEN) have been conducting community sessions working with young girls and women so that their voices are also heard on CSW platform.
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated in promoting gender equality in all aspects of life.
Speaking during a virtual meeting hosted by SAT on Young People and Rights Holders on CSW, Vimbai Nyika SAT Youth Officer,said they were conducting CSW sessions with young girls and women and they have identified some youths who are in different communities who will help raise awareness about CSW.
“With the help of UN Women we have managed to reach out to many rural communities and raise awareness on what CSW is and we have identified some youths in these communities whom we are working with in spreading information,”Nyika said
Ruwadzano Muzvondiwa, Rozaria Memorial Trust, Gender Justice Advocate said there should be improvement in how the CSW processes works since mots young people were still excluded due to numerous factors.
We want to improve women and youth participation in the rural areas but there is participation digital divide. Most women and youths in the rural areas do not own smarts phones and other electronic gadgets which can allow them to be on these other platforms. Also, some of the rural women and youths can not afford data to be on the virtual platforms as this year’s CSW was hosted online because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We managed to raise awareness in rural Mrewa about what are the CSW process is however, this is an only advantage to rural Shamva and Mrehwa because we have managed to be part of the communities and telling them what CSW is. Other women and youth in some rural parts of the country do not know what CSW process is. Most organizations unlike Rozaria Memorial Trust work in urban communities making it difficult for some information to reach the rural folks,” Muzvondiwa said.
Muzvondiwa added that there is lack of dissemination of information in rural communities. Also, most rural communities do not have media outreach which then makes it difficult for them to receive more information about programs around them.
Meanwhile, Farirai Gumbonzvanda, a Social Justice Advocate said more needs to be done so that these CSW processes will be inclusive.
“It is true that digitalization has made more youths participate online because of the COVID-19 pandemic but attending these meetings in person increases more chances of networking and sharing of more ideas of what they doing in their communities regarding empowering women.
“We need to start working today on the CSW66 because it’s not a day’s event rather it is a process. Although it’s not an easy task we need to work to ensure that the rural – urban divide gap has been bridged,” Gumbonzvanda said.
This year’s CSW65 theme was ‘Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls’.