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Ratification of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development a welcome development
Women In Politics Support Unit (WIPSU)
June 29, 2010

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In October 2009 the Parliament of Zimbabwe ratified the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. It now seems that Zimbabweans have no excuse for not putting gender on every agenda of the lives of Zimbabwean people. The SADC Protocol which addresses every aspect of life, including media, HIV and AIDS, Gender Based Violence and participation of women in decision making, is a tool that can be used by the Zimbabwean women to fight for the creation of structures, and implementation of processes and rights that will allow their participation as full citizens of Zimbabwe

Women in Politics Support Unit has been advocating for the implementation of the SADC protocol since 2008. Article 12 and 13 provide for the equal representation of women in all areas of decision- making, both public and private and suggest that this target be achieved through Constitutional and other legislative measures and other strategies, policies and programmes to ensure that women participate effectively in electoral processes and decision-making by amongst other, building capacity, providing support and establishing and strengthening structures to enhancing gender mainstreaming. The Protocol and before it the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development provides for the 50/50 representation of women in all decision making positions whether private or public life. Thus was born the 50/50 Campaign which has been spearheaded by WiPSU since November 16, 2006.

This has since begun a slogan popular to all in the women's movement and it was this combined advocacy (on 50/50 and other issues for women articulated in the protocol) and the lobbying of the Women's Parliamentary Caucus that has resulted in the ratification of the Protocol. The Caucus needs to be applauded for their hard work and dedication on behalf of the women of Zimbabwe.

It is now vital that the protocol be fully implemented. During this time of Constitution making it would be opportune to ensure that the principles enshrined in the protocol are enshrined in the new Constitution on Zimbabwe. For us as an organization, the equal representation and participation of women in all decision-making spheres is vital for women and should be enshrined in the Constitution. Without women having a seat at all tables where decisions are made there is no way that their views and concerns, as full citizens of this country will ever be tabled adequately. We as women want to be at the table with men, making decisions that impact on our lives.

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