The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) joins the nation of Zimbabwe and the International Community at large in commemorating today, the 8th of March, the International Women’s Day which is a global day celebrating women’s achievements.
- The Global Theme for this year’s commemorations is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030” running under the campaign theme #BeBoldForChange.
- ZHRC is concerned that in the changing world of work, which is gravitating towards the rewardingfields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), women and girls in Zimbabwe still lag behind in their uptake of technical subjects perceived as male domain and thus women continue to be underrepresented in the Sciences.
- Futhermore, the ZHRC notes that challenges that hinder women’s economic empowerment in Zimbabwe are far from being addressed. Because of the continuously shrinking formal economy, many women are employed in the informal sector. However, this sector is not properly regulated resulting in incidents of violent interactions within the sector. The government is called upon to ensure that both central government and local authorities positively engage with informal traders, including women informal traders. In particular, local authority by-laws must be gender-sensitive and must be enforced without resorting to violence.
- In a bid to improve the rights of women in the world of work, the ZHRC calls upon government to expediate alignment of provisions on maternity leave in the Labour Act with the Constitution. ZHRC urges the government to accept the recommendation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and ratify the International Labour Organisation Domestic Workers Convention 2011, (No.189)which protects the rights of domestic workers in their workplaces.
- The ZHRC notes with concern, the lower numbers of complaints being lodged by women to the Commission, compared to their male counterparts. To deal with this anomaly, the ZHRC is in the process of operationalizing the Thematic Working Group (TWG) on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights so as to put in place strategies to reach out to women.
- The ZHRC also invites the private sector and all other stakeholders to partner with Government in efforts to advance gender equality and empower women at the work place. Measures that are key to ensuring women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work include addressing gender gaps in leadership and protection of women from violence at the workplace, especially sexual harassment.
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