Ruth Butaumocho Gender Editor
Zimbabwe is among four countries in SADC with 20 percent or more of all defence forces posts filled by women, recent research has found.The other three countries are Namibia, Seychelles and South Africa, which has the highest proportion of women in the defence sector, where they constitute 27 percent of the force . The 2013 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer on Zimbabwe that was launched in Harare recently showed that Zimbabwe has done well in women’s representation and participation in security issues of this country, where 20 of the defence forces and 25 percent of the police are women.
The reports also applauded the promotion of the first female brigadier-general in the Zimbabwe national Army, Brig-General Shalit Moyo last year.
However, the report also noted that women’s representation, senior positions within the national army, air force, police and prison services was still far below 30 percent due to the absence of special measures and specific policies to increase the recruitment and promotion of women to top positions within the sector.
“Gender parity has only been reached at the level of assistant commissioner, the second highest level after commissioner, within the Zimbabwe Prison Services,” the report noted.
The study also noted that the Zimbabwe Republic Police, has made strides including women police officers in its contingents participating in United Nations peacekeeping operations. When the first ZRP peacekeepers participated in the mission to Angola in 1993, there were no women among the 25 police officers that went there.
However by 2012, 189 women police officers out of the 1 063 officers from ZRP had participated in peacekeeping missions. The first woman police officer was deployed in 2 000 in East Timor.
Since then women police officers have participated in missions in east Timor, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Sudan, South Sudan, Liberia and Darfur.