Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Statement on International Women’s Day

Source: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Statement on International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) appreciates the role of women in advocating for socio-economic and political rights and defending the civic and democratic space in Zimbabwe.

This year’s theme, “Invest in women: Accelerate Progress” highlights the pivotal role of women in development processes and this should be anchored on gender equality as well as women and girls’ empowerment.

The 2024 theme resonates with our position for inclusive and equitable distribution of resources and opportunities in Zimbabwe. The theme also aligns with Section 80 of the Zimbabwean Constitution which stipulates that every woman has full and equal dignity of the person with men and this includes equal opportunities in political, economic, and social activities.

It is however unfortunate that women and girls continue to bear the brunt of Zimbabwe’s multi-faceted crisis and this has limited their potential to effectively contribute to the country’s development. In essence, women form a large population of Zimbabwe’s marginalized communities. The government of Zimbabwe has failed to provide basic social services such as health care, education, water, and sanitation, especially to poor and marginalized communities and groups with the greater number of these being women and children.

Poor governance continues to perpetuate gender inequality in Zimbabwe while a harsh political environment continues to limit women’s participation in political processes and this has negatively impacted their potential to contribute towards development.

Patriarchy in some communities has also been a limiting factor in terms of women’s empowerment.

The government of Zimbabwe must create a conducive environment for women to effectively contribute towards development. This implies fulfilling the social contract as well as upholding constitutional provisions on women’s empowerment and respect for fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.

We call upon the government of Zimbabwe to;

  1. Uphold its constitutional obligation to respect fundamental rights and freedoms of all citizens.
  2. Ensure that women are at the core of the country’s development processes as outlined under Section 80 of the Zimbabwean constitution.
  3. Empower the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to effectively advocate for the rights of women especially in marginalised and remote areas where patriarchy is rife. This is in line with Section 80 (30 of the constitution which stipulates that “laws, customs. Traditions and cultural practices that infringe the rights of women conferred by this Constitution are void to the extent of infringement”.
  4. Ensure that the Zimbabwean budget is always in line with the AbujaDeclaration of 2000 (which states that the health budget must be 15 percent of total expenditure) given the fact that women continue to be at the receiving end of poor social service delivery including health care.

Addressing Zimbabwe’s multifaceted crisis is key to empowering women and girls and we reiterate our call for a genuine all stakeholder dialogue as a way of unlocking the crisis in Zimbabwe which continues to affect women.