‘Give women chance to take up leadership roles’

BY FARAI MATIASHE/VANESSA GONYE

THE Zimbabwe Gender Commission (GC) has said women should be included in policy dialogue and accorded a chance to take up leadership roles for them to contribute to Zimbabwe’s vision 2030.

Addressing a conference on strengthening land tenure and land ownership rights for women in southern Africa in Harare yesterday, ZGC commissioner Naomi
Chimbetete said women should be part and parcel of the discourse around land rights and ownership.

“We have men mapping the way forward for women land rights and ownership. We have men playing legislative role around this issue. Are women part and parcel of
this discourse? Do they even know that someone is drafting a bill involving them? Women need to be part of these issues,” she said.

“Looking at the 2030 vision, agriculture is the backbone in turning around the economy of this country and this can only be achieved by women, especially on
the land. We need to open up dialogue on policy issues. We should leave no one behind.”

Chimbetete said women should be given access to resources for them to be productive on the land.

“There is command agriculture, which is somehow discriminatory to women. There is need to provide them with adequate resources. We need to empower them,” she
said.

Chimbetete added that there was supposed to be structural changes in critical institutions dominated by men, including traditional chiefs and village heads so
that they facilitate allocation of land to other women.

Speaking at the same event a Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights official, Peggy Tavagadza said the current legislation was silent on women’s land rights and
ownership issues.

“The assumption is that everyone has a right to land, yet that is not what is on the ground. The legislation is silent on woman,” she said. Tavagadza said
Zimbabwe’s customs and traditions could not be absolved from the blame of discriminating against woman from owning land.

“Our customs and traditions have remained behind. The patriarchal society is still in existence. Women have a right to use land, but not own it. They believe
women should be submissive to their husbands,” she said.

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