Milestone as New National Gender Policy is Launched

Jul 6, 2017

Hon. Nyasha Chikwinya, Minister of Women's Affairs, Gender & Community Development launches the revised National Gender Policy in Harare July 6, 2017 as Ms. Margaret Sangarwe-Mukahanana (left), Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission and Mr Georges van Montfort, UNDP Country Director, among others look on. In a precedent-setting development, the policy has been translated into braille, ensuring that it is widely accessible. Photo/UNDP

 

The revised National Gender Policy (NGP) was unveiled on July 6, 2017 with a call for gender justice, equality, integration, inclusiveness and shared responsibility for sustainable development in Zimbabwe. Developed through a consultative process and coordinated by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development with support from UNDP and UN Women, the NGP provides a broad framework to guide and coordinate all efforts for addressing gender inequality and discrimination in Zimbabwe.

“The new policy sets out priorities, builds coherence and facilitate resource mobilization in support of gender equality and equity” explained the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Hon. Nyasha Chikwinya. Stressing that the goal of improving the status of women remains a government priority, the minister said that the government is committed to building a gender-just society by preventing and addressing any discrimination based on gender.

The new NGP was developed to address the shortcomings of the 2004 policy, and address emerging issues at the national, regional and global level including alignment to the SDGs, the SADC Gender Protocol and the African Union Agenda 2063.

It reflects recent developments in the country including the 2013 Constitutional provisions that are explicit on the promotion of gender equality and removal of discrimination between men and women; the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation which commits to advancing equal participation of men and women in productive sectors; and other frameworks and agreements such as the 2011 Broad Based Women’s Economic Empowerment Framework (BBWEEF), and the SADC Gender and Development Protocol which Zimbabwe has recently signed.

Commending the Ministry for the “bold, smart and compelling” vision articulated in the policy, the UNDP Country Director Mr Georges van Montfort said the launch marks a milestone in the Government of Zimbabwe’s “progressive march towards a common agenda and vision for achieving gender equality”.

“The Ministry is particularly commended for the inclusion of a thematic area on the gender dimensions of people living with disability, an area which requires all our concerted efforts and commitment. This is in line with the core SDG principle of leaving no one behind and with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” said the UNDP Country Director.

He hailed the excellent collaboration, saying UNDP has been working closely with the Ministry in the initiation of the Gender and Economic Policy Management Initiative and providing advisory support for the establishment of a Women’s Micro-Finance Bank.

“I take this opportunity to reiterate the UN Agencies’ continued commitment to work with the Government of Zimbabwe and other partners to ensure that the ambitious goals of this policy are translated into reality” said the country director, adding: “We are aware of the efforts by the Ministry to follow through with implementation of the policy. In this regard, UN Women has already supported the Ministry to establish a Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Framework which identifies key gender indicators for each line ministry. The United Nations stands ready to support the Government further in ensuring a successful roll out and monitoring of the policy.”

In her remarks, the UN Women deputy country representative Ms Caroline Nyamayemombe who read a speech on behalf of country director, Ms. Delphine Serumaga, emphasized the need to track and measure progress in implementing the National Gender Policy (NGP). “We need to be very granular in our analysis” she observed, adding that all stakeholders should embrace the concept of accountability in implementing the policy.

Echoing similar remarks, the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, Ms Margret Sangarwe-Mukahanana committed to raising public awareness about the policy. “We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that the issues raised in the revised national gender policy are implemented by all relevant government ministries, parastatals and departments”.

This NGP’s vision is translated into 10 priority thematic areas namely: Gender, Constitutional and Legal Rights; Gender and Economic Empowerment; Gender, Politics and Decision Making; Gender and Health; Gender, Education and Training; Gender Based Violence; Gender, Environment and Climate Change; Gender, Media and Information Communication Technology (ICTS); Gender and Disability; and Gender, Culture and Region.

And in a first in Zimbabwe, the policy is also accessible in braille.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of various line ministries, parliamentary committees, UN Agencies, development partners, faith-based organizations, Chiefs Council, NGOs and civil society, private sector, academia, media, among others.