Precious Manomano Herald Reporter
Women have been urged to take advantage of the 30 percent quota reserved for them in local authorities after the signing of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.2) Act.
This came out during a workshop organised by Parliament’s Women’s Caucus, Silveira House and Gender Links, to discuss the operationalisation of the quota provision.
According to the amendment, a local authority will get 30 percent more seats of existing wards in its jurisdiction.
Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Dr Sithembiso Nyoni, said Government had taken progressive steps by amending several laws to ensure women’s rights were protected.
This is also aimed at increasing chances of women participation in local governance.
“The Constitution of Zimbabwe, which was adopted in 2013, for example, section 56, was a major milestone in the history of our country and more importantly in the lives of Zimbabwean women,” said Minister Nyoni.
“The constitution is progressing in terms of advancing women’s rights as it outlaws discrimination and promotes gender equality.
“Section 56 clearly outlaws Government discrimination and section 17 calls upon Government to ensure full gender balance and to take measures to protect the full participation of women, including equal representation in all institutions.”
Dr Nyoni expressed concern over the decline in numbers of women in politics and decision-making positions.
“I do believe that with the constitutional of amendment (No.2) on 30 percent quota for women in local governance, we have reached a turning point of our women in politics and decision-making and let us use the opportunity to drive the nation forward,” she said.
Government believes women’s meaningful participation and leadership is a key driver to national development.
In a speech read on her behalf, Senate president Mabel Chinomona said tradition presented women with challenges that limited their roles in society.
“They face harassment and intimidation, some are even persuaded to leave the office by their close relatives and partners, causing men to dominate positions of power,” she said.
“Despite more women being elected to Parliament around the world, equality is still a long way to go.”
President Mnangagwa has said the setting up of public institutions such as the Zimbabwe Gender Commission and the Zimbabwe Women’s Micro Finance Bank, as well as the domestication of international conventions and protocols on women issues, are some of the interventions Zimbabwe has made to achieve women empowerment.