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‘Women lag behind male counterparts’

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WOMEN in Zimbabwe are still lagging behind their male counterparts in critical areas such as education, economic empowerment and the advancement of their rights despite efforts by the government to close the gap, a recent survey by the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance has revealed.

Wonai Masvingise

In a report titled Sadc Gender Protocol 2012 Barometer: Zimbabwe, the regional body observed that the country had allocated little resources towards achieving gender parity, hence its low rankings. The report was released at the Zimbabwe Sadc Gender Protocol Summit in Harare last week.

“Less than 1% of the allocations in the 2012 National Budget are for advancing gender equality and women’s rights,” reads the report in part.

“Women continue to face discrimination in the administration of laws and policies. Gender balance has increasingly become a fundamental issue in governance.”

However, the report notes that the proposed new constitution seeks to address these disparities.

Despite this, the report goes on to note that the country will not be able to meet many of the Sadc protocol’s targets by the deadline date of 2015 even though there is “a relatively strong normative framework for gender equality and women’s rights” in comparison with other countries in the region.

“Women’s participation in politics and decision-making in the public sphere is still far below the 30% required in the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action. A special measure has been introduced in the July 2012 proposed draft constitution to address this issue, but any measures adopted need to be accompanied by actions to remove further the political, cultural and financial barriers to women’s representation in politics and decision-making in governance structures,” the report adds.

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