The Sunday Mail
The Zimbabwe Gender Commission marks this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) which is celebrated annually on the 8th of March.
The first International Women’s Day was celebrated back in the 1908 when a group of 15 000 women marched on the streets of New York demanding their rights.
Since then, every year, on 8th March, the world joins hands together to support, raise, inspire and motivate women across all fields of work.
The 2019 International Women’s Day campaign theme is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.”
The theme focuses on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure.
Social protection is concerned with protecting and helping those who are indigent, such as the poor and vulnerable, children, women, older people, persons with disabilities, the displaced, the unemployed, and the sick.
While social protection is meant to mitigate against socio-economic and political factors that increase vulnerability and exclusion, inequalities, by their nature, exacerbate the adverse conditions faced by those who have no voice, choice and control.
For social protection to be transformative, it should recognise the inherent dignity and worth of each human being.
Our constitution confers the mandate on institutions, public and private, to deliver gender equality through social transformation of our education, health, housing, employment, land and media, among other sectors.
In building smart, this year’s IWD theme exhorts us as a country to ensure that our initiatives as a collective and at individual level pass the effectiveness test.
This assumes that our analysis of key issues is inclusive of all social groups. That the solutions we choose, uplift rather than discriminate.
To this end, as the ZGC we call upon leaders across socio-economic political sectors to ensure that results include eradication of systemic barriers to gender equality.
The Commission has noted that while the legislative framework is largely gender responsive, there are policy and programmatic gaps in addressing issues of gender discrimination. As such, the ZGC International Women’s Day commemoration will be focusing on conversations with duty-bearers and rights-holders on the responsiveness of social safety nets for excluded and vulnerable persons.
Innovating for change requires us as a country to ensure effective integration of gender analysis within our problem analysis.
While this has been done in the past, as a Commission, we note that this has largely been on paper. Gender analyses have been done and solutions proffered but implementation remains stalled.
The change we seek is gender equality through transformative women empowerment.
This requires the removal of any impediments for women and girls, be they social, economic and political.
Gender-based violence remains the key challenge that needs eradication if all the progressive legal and policy framework is to bear fruit.
There is need to ensure that we all say no to violence of any form regardless of who is targeted and who is perpetuating it. To “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change,” service delivery, particularly by public institutions needs to be guaranteed, gender responsive and rights-based.
Unpaid care work, mostly done by women, remains an indictment of the failure to ensure efficient, effective and affordable public services delivery using appropriate technology.
The Commission continues its work to ensure the removal of systemic barriers and invites those sharing the vision for gender equality to collaborate.
This is in the areas of public education; monitoring compliance with constitutional provisions; research and programming and legal investigations work.
This statement was released by the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to commemorate International Women’s Day.