Celebrating International Women's Day in Zimbabwe

Mar 22, 2017

Zimbabwe UN Clinic staff take a moment to commemorate International Women's Day

’We can’t achieve any of our goals without the participation of women and girls’’ (United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, 8th March 2017)

The 2017 International Women’s Day was celebrated in Zimbabwe on the 8th of March, 2017 with a call to inspire women in the country to pursue careers as opinion leaders, intellectuals and entrepreneurs as they had the capacity to do so.   This year, the Day was commemorated under the theme, Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50:50 by 2030, Be Bold for Change and the national theme: The woman we want: bankable, business-minded, brainy, beautiful, bold, blessed and balanced.”

Outlining the measures that the Government has taken in empowering women economically through financial inclusion women, Dr Charity Dhliwayo, the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said among others, the Zimbabwe National  Financial Inclusion Strategy  ( 2016)   has influenced the  establishment of women’s desks in  8 commercial banks as well as the soon-to-be established Women‘s Microfinance Bank. The latter is an initiative of the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development (MWAGCD) with the technical and financial support of UNDP.

’The RBZ has realized that women empowerment cannot be achieved without ensuring their access to and usage of appropriate and affordable financial products and services,” explained Dr Dhliwayo, a prominent, successful business woman and one of the country’s top economists. The Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was the key speaker at the IWD.

 In his remarks, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Bishow Parajuli expressed the UN’s strong commitment to collaborate with the Government of Zimbabwe to provide space for women and girls to achieve their potential.  “We will continue to support gender equality and women empowerment in Zimbabwe because these are key to achievement of sustainable development goals” said Mr Parajuli.

The UNDP Country Director Ms Verity Nyagah was part of the high-profile delegates and ordinary women and girls who attended the occasion.

The International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

Celebrated annually in March,  it coincides with the   Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which meets for two weeks annually  in March in   New York  to review progress  registered towards promotion and protection of women ‘s rights and sustainable development. The Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) 2017 theme is Women‘s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work.

UNDP   globally and Country Office is actively involved in these processes by supporting national efforts towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. In Zimbabwe, this assistance is channelled through amongst others, support to the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and Parliament.

Internally, the Country Office has made great strides towards increasing participation and representation of women in key decision making positions reflecting the dynamic changing and evolving UNDP world of work!  Some of the top positions occupied by women in the CO are the Country Director : Ms  Verity Nyagah  (Kenya) the Deputy Country Director , Ms Debab Asrat Ynessu – (Ethiopia) , the Assistant Resident Representative  Governance and Gender Mainstreaming Ms. Revai Aalbaek  (Zimbabwe) and  the Assistant Resident Representative Poverty and HIV/Aids Mainstreaming Ms  Anne Madzara.

 In middle management at the National Professional Staff Level C, 67 percent—all Zimbabweans—are   females. These include lawyers and economists. Powerful indeed.

The first IWD was held on March 19, 1911.  An initiative which started as a women workers and political movement has since grown to be a global event.  During International Women's Year in 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and was taken up by many governments which had not previously known of its existence.