The Zimbabwe Gender Commission is an Independent Commission established in terms of Sections 232 (c) and 245 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and operationalized through the Zimbabwe Gender Commission Act (Chapter 10:31), with the overall mandate of promoting, protecting and advancing gender equality as provided for in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the International Day of the Girl Child being held under the theme “Our time is now – Our Rights, Our Future” and the Commission joins the world in the commemorations. Launched in 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly, the day focuses attention on the need to address girls’ challenges and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights. It is regrettable that the day comes after the death of 15-year-old Nokutenda Hwaramba during childbirth in circumstances eerily similar to that of Memory Machaya, two years ago.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989, sets forth the basic human rights of children. These rights include non-discrimination; the right to survival and development of potential; protection from harmful influences, abuses and exploitation; and full participation in family, cultural and social life.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe recognises the equality of all persons and goes further to explicitly outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sex or gender. Section 81 of the Constitution upholds the rights of children under 18 years. The section reiterates that the interests of the child are paramount in every matter concerning the child including: the right to equal treatment with boys and opportunity, to justice before the law; provision of a birth certificate; family or parental care; protection from sexual exploitation and abuse, child labour and from maltreatment, neglect regardless of demographic situation.
Despite progressive legal frameworks in support of gender equality, implementation of these rights and their translation into tangible gains for girls has lagged behind.
Sustainable Development Goals ensure no one is left behind. It is critical that girls and young women’s voices are heard, to contribute to policies and decisions that shape their lives, through gender equality.
In light of the above, the Commission, calls upon the Government and relevant stakeholders to:
● Join hands to ensure an inclusive society that is tolerant and sensitive to the girl child aspirations.
● Continue designing and implementing programs to promote economic opportunities, social protection, and education
● Strengthen laws, policies and national action plans to address violence against girls and young women
● Engage men and boys to challenge social norms and values that perpetuate discrimination of the Girl Child.
The Commission remains committed to its mandate of progressively working towards gender equality in Zimbabwe.
Delivery of girls’ socio-cultural, economic and political rights is a key aspiration.
For more information, contact ZGC Chairperson, Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe 0712214203/ 0772869214, and Chief
Executive Officer Virginia Muwanigwa 0712899543/ 0772327955