By Joyce Mukucha
The Government of Zimbabwe is geared at ensuring that awareness on the need and importance of women’s economic empowerment is raised with the aim of promoting and networking them as well as celebrating their achievements.
Speaking at a press conference about the International Women’s Day on the 7th of March in Harare, Sithembiso Nyoni, the minister of Women and Youth Affairs, said the day was important for it acknowledges the voices of women and takes note of their diversity, different roles and circumstances.
The commemorations which will be held on the 8th of March 2018 in Matabeleland North Province, Nkayi District will run under the international theme: ‘Time is now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming women’s Lives’ and the theme at national level is: Transforming Women’s Lives through Economic Empowerment.’
Nyoni indicated that it was a great honour for Zimbabwe to be part of the international commemorations since the day replicates on the progress made in the advancement of women’s issues. Their economic, political and social determination in contributing to the country’s wellbeing is also celebrated.
“This day is important to Zimbabwe for it gives women a platform to share their common concerns so that they work together towards a common goal. The Government of Zimbabwe has shown commitment in achieving women empowerment through the signing and ratification of a number of regional and international conventions and protocols that aim to promote and acknowledge the rights of women and to achieve gender quality,” Nyoni said.
The minister said Zimbabwe was dedicated to economic justice which has been reemphasised in the establishments of laws. The Government has followed up its sustenance through assenting action laws and strategies.
“Government of Zimbabwe supports women’s economic empowerment in line with a number of policies and with the growing body of evidence that shows that gender equality significantly contributes to advancing economies and sustainable development. Some of the conventions government has certified include; Convention of the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on Rights of Women, and Beljing Declaration of 1995 among other conventions,” she said.
In as much as the 2018 harmonised elections are concerned, minister Nyoni said women have got rights to stand for any elections as this is witnessed by the 50-50 Women’s Manifesto which was launched on the 6th of March 2018 to ensure that there is equal participation between men and women in politics.
As another way of valuing and supporting women, the ministry has made a deliberate policy and implemented a programme called Zimbabwe Programme for Enterprise Development which will monitor that all Vocational Training Centres in each district and province is given 5-6 machines to produce sanitary pads for girls.
Nyoni emphasised that instead of exporting cotton, it is rather better to add value to it and use it for the production of sanitary wear. Importing is not a solution, she said, but the country should only import the machines which will be then used in the manufacturing process.
This year’s celebrations are moving with a plethora of objectives which include sharing experiences and initiatives in addressing the challenges faced by women, promoting change, demolish stereotypes and promote a solid understanding of the actual situation of women as well as making recommendations on problems requiring immediate attention in the field of women’s rights.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March every year with different themes as enunciated by the United Nations in 1975.