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The Women's Charter - Shortened Version
Published by The Women's Coalition
2001

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PREAMBLE

We, the women of Zimbabwe, as full citizens making up over half the Zimbabwean people;

Claiming the birth right of every human being to have freedom and equality;

Having contributed equally to the development of the nation throughout its history;

Having contributed equally to the struggle for the independence of our nation;

Having suffered oppression through patriarchy, custom and tradition, colonialism, racism, male-dominated dictatorship and capitalism;

Finding ourselves still discriminated against in law, politics, business, society, culture and religion;

As workers in every sphere of national life;

As the mothers of the people and of future generations -


DEMAND . . .

  • A constitution, laws and policies that make women and men equal;
  • To be recognised for our role in founding and developing the country;
  • To take part fully and equally in our nation;
  • No more oppression;
  • No more discrimination against women in public life, at work and at home;
  • The extra opportunities for women to put right the imbalances of the past and build equality in the future;
  • Personal safety, protection for our property and no more violence against women;
  • A plan of action, a time frame and the resources to make these demands possible.

EQUALTY AND NON-DISCRIMINATION

Women claim full equality with men. Women must be equal under the constitution, under the law, in politics, business, public life and in homes. The nation must recognise the wrongs of the past and give women extra opportunities. Discrimination must be forbidden.

Women must have equal rights within the family and to custody of children. They must play an equal role in making decisions in all aspects of family life.

Women must have equal rights to earn their living. Brothers and sisters must have equal rights to inherit, equal rights to land and housing and equal access to other natural resources and funds. Laws must support this.

Women must have the right to support from the state and the right to education.

The state must encourage positive images of women in the newspapers and on television and discourage stereotypes.

Culture and religion are important but they must never be used to justify discrimination against women.

LAW AND ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

Laws must support, protect and promote equality of rights and opportunities for women and girls. Both men and women, boys and girls, must be able to use the law to protect their rights.

Women must be part of the country's justice system, including the customary system. They must have extra opportunities to take their place as equal decision makers in how the laws are made and put into practice and how all the courts are run.

The law must support women's right to make decisions about their own lives. Women and men must have equal rights and duties as parents.

The justice system must be friendly to those who use it and victim friendly, especially for victims of rape, domestic violence and child abuse.

Mentally or physically disabled people must be helped and protected whenever they have to deal with the law or the courts.

People who run the courts must not be influenced by anything except fair judgement and women must be equally represented at all levels of the justice system.

Anyone working in the courts must be gender sensitive and make decisions that protect the rights and interests of women.

Any citizens who want to protect their rights but cannot afford a lawyer must be given free help and advice. There must be a special budget set aside for this.

Police officers must treat everyone equally; they must treat women with respect and as equal to men. The police must protect women against all forms of violence.

All citizens must have free and full access to information about their legal and constitutional rights provided by the state.

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