Minister promotes empowerment drive at NAM indaba Minister Mutsvangwa

Ivan Zhakata-Herald Correspondent

Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Monica Mutsvangwa is promoting Zimbabwe’s empowerment drive at the Non-Aligned Movement Conference on Advancing the Rights and Empowerment of Women held in Baku, Azerbaijan.

As Zimbabwe makes strides in ensuring gender equality and women empowerment, Minister Mutsvangwa told the conference that Zimbabwe has made a huge milestone through President Mnangagwa signing a high-level political compact on ending gender-based violence practices.

The high-level political compact was signed under the global spotlight initiative and continued to stand strong as a clear demonstration of commitment to gender equality and empowerment for women.

“The Government of Zimbabwe has adopted several measures aimed at empowering women, men and youth. These include setting up a Women’s Bank and Empower Bank that gives loans to set up their enterprises and these are collateral free. 

“The setting up of a fully-fledged Ministry in my country responsible for women’s empowerment demonstrates our Government’s commitment to economically empowering different groups of people especially those from vulnerable, marginalised and in rural areas.”

“The Government of Zimbabwe established the Zimbabwe Gender Commission and the commission is a constitutional body centre on issues to do with gender equality and also to ensure gender equality as provided in the Constitution and to investigate possible violation of rights related to gender. 

“Women’s wilful participation in all sectors, in particular their participation in decision making positions, is a key driver of development both at local, regional and international global level.”

Zimbabwe had come up with a strategy on women in leadership and decision making to increase women in top posts both in public political and private sectors.

“Recently, as I speak, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Dr Emmerson Mnangagwa has appointed the first ever female Attorney-General, Prosecutor-General and the first female officer cadet trained as a Brigadier- General,” she said.

“With regards to 20-20, our constitution recognises that education is a fundamental human right. The constitution provides for the right to free and compulsory basic education as well as the right to equal access to education for both girls and boys.

“To this end, Zimbabwe has achieved a literacy rate of 96 percent, near 90 of primary education with an enrolment ratio of 97,9 percent for girls versus 97,5 for boys.”

At the conference, the member states came up with a draft Baku Declaration where they underscored the commitment to keep advancing human rights and the empowerment of women as a visionary agenda for the NAM and reaffirmed our political will to tackle the challenges in the sphere of the advancement of women and the enjoyment of their human rights.

They also reaffirmed the commitment to ensuring representation and full, equal and meaningful participation of women in all facets of society, and underlined the particular importance of promoting equal participation of women in the political systems of NAM member states. 

The member states welcome the increasing representation of women at the highest political levels and in elected assemblies and reiterated their firm commitment to join efforts and continue combating all forms of violence against women, until its complete elimination, recognising the importance of engaging men and boys among other commitments.

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