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  • International Women's Day Commemorations (IWD)
    Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe
    March 11, 2010

    Harare City stood still on the 8th of March 2010 between 0900hrs to 1000hrs as more than 1200 women, most dressed in IWD T-shirts marched from Africa Unity Square to Harare Gardens. Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) organized the march and events to commemorate IWD in Harare Gardens. The theme for IWD was "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for all". The crowd was in a celebratory mood as they danced, sang and waved to motorists and pedestrians along the way. They also distributed summary copies of the Women's Charter.

    Ms Netsai Mushonga, the National Co-ordinator welcomed participants to the event. She noted that women had made progress in attaining their rights but a lot of work was outstanding. Women needed to gear up for participation in the constitutional and transitional justice processes. The key note address was given by the fiery politician, Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe. She chronicled the inequality that women are forced to live with in Zimbabwe. Women provide the majority of labour in agriculture but they do not own and control land, hence the benefits escape them. She reminded the gathering that women constitute 52% of the population and they (women) should actively participate in national issues. The Deputy Prime Minister spoke about her vision of opening the first women's bank in Zimbabwe. She has been studying other banking models around the world and she hoped the bank would support women to become economically empowered. "We are saying women should also get shares in ownership of companies under the ongoing indigenization processes. Statistics shows how that women work 10 times more than men and they are more organized in whatever they do".

    Speaking at the same occasion, the Chairperson of the Women Parliamentary Caucus, Cde Beata Nyamupinga said women should work together to come up with leadership ethics. "Through hard work and commitment we can together craft effective women leadership in constitutional matters through sharing information, educating and mobilizing all women at grassroots level and empower them to participate more meaning fully during the consultative process." Honourable Nyampinga appreciated the efforts that civic society and the Women's Parliamentary Caucus has been making to balance gender scales in constitution making. She expressed hope that women would participate actively in the constitution making processes.

    The gathering was graced by one of the most powerful woman in Zimbabwe, Honourable Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga. Hon. Misihairambwi-Mushonga was the only women who attended all sessions of negotiations of the three political parties that signed the Global Political Agreement and she sits in the Management Committee overseeing the constitution making process. Minister Misiharambwi-Mushonga gave a solidarity message to all women and encouraged women to feed information to policy makers, who in turn can make the required changes in policy and processes. Hon. Misihairambwi-Mushonga appreciated SIDA for its continued support to the women of Zimbabwe. SIDA had responded timeously to women's needs over the years.

    Mr Goran Engstrand the SIDA Country Director gave a solidarity message to all women of Zimbabwe and thanked WCoZ for inviting his team to the event. Mr Engstrand revealed that SIDA was concerned about Violence Against Women in Zimbabwe. SIDA had supported the campaign for a domestic violence law in 2006 and had commissioned a research on the cost of domestic violence to Zimbabwe. This will be shared with all stakeholders in the near future.

    Deputy Minister of Women Affairs Gender and Community Development, Hon. Evelyn Masaiti gave the closing remarks and vote of thanks. She encouraged women to continue the struggle for their human rights and her ministry would support such efforts. The Deputy Minister of Justice Jessie Majome graced the occasion. Other members of parliament included Senator Dandajena, Hon Matienga and Hon Mativenga. The funding partners attending included Action Aid International, Non State Actors Forum, MS Zimbabwe and Norwegian People's Aid.

    WCoZ brought together more 1 200 women from different constituencies in Harare such as Mufakose, Budiriro, Dzivarasekwa, Sunningdale, Mbare, Glen Norah, Warren Park, Kuwadzana, Mabvuku and Glenview and Norton, Chitungwiza and Glendale. Other other participants were drawn from WCoZ Stakeholders such as Padare Men's Forum and membership.

    The Women's Fair" was part of the commemorations where WCoZ members provided practical services to the public, distributed information and sold products from communities they work with. Members who were exhibiting include Zimbabwe Women Writers', Women and Aids Support Network; Research and Advocacy Unit; Women in Law in Southern Africa Research and Education Trust; Zimbabwe Women Resource Centre Network; Disabled Women's Support Organisation; Young Women's Christian Association; Women and Land In Zimbabwe; Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association and Domestic Workers Association.

    Visit the Women's Coalition fact sheet

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