The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) joins the nation of Zimbabwe and the International Community in commemoratingInternational Women’s Day (IWD) which is celebrated on the 8th of March every year.
- The global theme for the 2016 International Women’s Day commemorations is:“Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. The theme emphasizes the urgent need for all stakeholders and communities throughout the world to accelerate efforts towards full attainment of Gender Equality which will simultaneously uplift opportunities for women, men, girls and boys by 2030. The theme underscores the target for gender parity adopted at the UN World Conference on Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015. To further advance this theme in 2016, the national theme adopted for the commemorations of International Women’s Day is: “Taking the International Women’s Day to the People”. This is a targeted initiative of making the commemorations relevant to the ordinary women and men in Zimbabwe.
- ZHRC applauds the Government of Zimbabwe for being party to International, Regional and sub-regional instruments on gender equality and women’s rights which include the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (1979), the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPA) (1995), the African Gender Parity Principle (2002), the Protocol on the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (generally referred to as the African Women’s Rights Protocol (2005), the Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa (2004) and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development (2008). All these interventions advocate for equality between women and men and removal of all obstacles to women’s active participation in all spheres through a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political activities, at home, work and in the wider national and international communities.
- The ZHRC notes with concern, the limited participation of women in political and decision-making positions in the country which still falls far below the target of 50% provided by the Constitution of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development as confirmed in the findings of the Baseline Survey on Perceptions, Attitudes and Understanding of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, which the ZHRC conducted in 2013 –2014.
- Zimbabwe derives guidance on gender parity from the national Constitution. Section 17 is the keystone to the promotion of gender balance. In unequivocal terms, it provides for the full participation of women in all spheres of life on the basis of equality with men. Section 56 provides for equal treatment including the right to equal opportunities in all spheres of life. Section 80 (3) outlaws all laws customs, traditions and cultural practices that infringe the rights of women.
- In an effort to give more focused attention to the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights, ZHRC has operationalised the Gender Equality and Women’s Rights Thematic Working Group, and pledges to work closely with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, Civil Society Organisations, Development Partners and all other stakeholders to promote gender equality whilst also advancing women’s rights.
- The ZHRC applauds and notes the significant progress Zimbabwe is making towardspromoting the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) through school fees subsidies for students who enrol for STEM. It calls upon the custodians of this programme, as it takes off, to prioritise gender equality so as to advance aspirations of girls and boys alike on an equal footing.
- It is our goal as the ZHRC and it is our responsibility as a nation to step up programmes on the promotion of gender equality to achieve Planet 50–50 by 2030.
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ZHRC Press Statement on the Commemorations of the International Women’s Day – 08 March 2016