Zimbabwe: Gender equality key for sustainable development

Zimbabwe: Gender equality key for sustainable development

Date: August 27, 2014
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Harare, 16 April: Gender equality is a prerequisite for sustainable development as it offers equal opportunities for men and women in improving their lives and communities, a senior government official has said.

Speaking during the two-day Zimbabwe SADC Gender Protocol Summit held in Harare, Dr. Perpetual Gumbo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Community Development said the promotion of gender equality is one of government’s key priorities in meeting Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“2015 is our year to meet targets for both the SADC Gender Protocol and MDGs particularly MDG number 3 on promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. This summit is set to evaluate how key stakeholders have contributed towards meeting the 28 targets of the SADC Gender Protocol,” Gumbo said, in a speech read on her behalf by Caroline Matizha, Director of Gender in the Ministry.

Held under the theme: 50/50 by 2015 and demanding a strong post 2015 agenda, the summit seeks to take stock of the combined gender mainstreaming efforts of government, local councils, media and civil society organisations.

Award winning case studies of initiatives in various thematic areas would be taken to the regional summit to show case best practices by key stakeholders.

Gumbo revealed that government had aligned the revised draft national gender policy to the SADC Gender Protocol.

The constitutional and legal right thematic area is meant to ensure that relevant legislative provisions on gender justice are implemented and aligned to national, regional and international protocols.

A supportive environment for gender parity in politics and decision-making is proposed within the gender, politics and decision-making theme.

Other thematic areas looked at how to improve gender sensitivity in health delivery, ensure equal access to education for boys and girls as well as ways of reducing gender-based violence.

The newly introduced thematic area on gender, environment and climate change was meant to increase gender responsiveness of initiatives to protect and manage the environment and natural resources as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Speaking at the same occasion, Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Lars Ronnas, said political will and adequate resources are essential to improve gender equality. He urged stakeholders to ensure that women are represented in formal and informal decision making forums.

“Local authorities have a vital role to play in ensuring that women are part of all decision making processes and that service delivery responds to the needs of men and women, as well as boys and girls, he said. We note with concern that the proportion of women in local councils in Zimbabwe has gone down from 18% to 16% in 2013.

“This reduction and the fact that these numbers are both very low is a sign that much remains to be done on gender equality in Zimbabwe,” Ronnas said.

Ronnas added that it is important to ensure that women as well as men are on the party nomination lists in elections and to that women are recruited to decision-making positions.
“Every country has to decide on which route to take to increase women’s political participation and influence. However, it is crucial for all countries that gender statistics and gender disaggregated data are available to inform gender equality initiatives” he stressed.

The summit is expected to provide a unique opportunity to discuss methods of strengthening gender equality in local, national and at regional level. It will culminate in national awards recognising excellence in various areas including women’s rights; local government; emerging entrepreneurs; government/leadership; gender based violence; climate change; media content; and 50/50, Alliance and Coalition Building.

This article is part of the GL News Service special coverage of the SADC Gender Protocol Summits underway across the region, offering fresh views on everyday news.


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