By Tsepo Munkombwe
Harare, February 27, 2014 – Zimbabwe has implemented several policy mechanisms to support women’s growth and development over the years, yet the country still lags behind the SADC requirements on gender equality.
Addressing delegates during the official launch of the joint Programme for Gender equality with the United Nations in Harare today, the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Oppah Muchinguri admitted that despite all the efforts made by her ministry Zimbabwe is still rated below SADC expectations on gender-related issues.
However, she acknowledged the fact that the eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe addressed the issue of proportional representation by making up a 34% increase of women in Parliament. Currently there is 32% in the National Assembly and 48 % in the Senate mainly as a result of the special measures in the constitution passed last year.
Zimbabwe still needs to be hands on with all processes that support women’s development and one of those being the ZIMASSET policy, extracted from the ruling Zanu (PF) party July 2013 election manifesto which was crafted to empower all citizens of Zimbabwe economically, but has so far faced implementation challenges due to lack of funds to finance it.
“Women should embrace this policy and be empowered economically since my ministry was only given $10, 5 million in the national budget,” said Muchinguri.
The United Nations, through the joint gender programme launched today has for the first time joined hands with the government of Sweden in an effort to strengthen gender equality in Zimbabwe
The Swedish government has assisted the ministry of Women’s Affairs,Gender and Community development financially in order to ensure that gender policies are implemented successfully in order to meet regional and international standards.
The Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Las Ronnas said it is his country’s policy to promote the strengthening of women’s rights and creation of better opportunities.