BY METHEMBE SIBANDA
ZIMBABWE will today join the rest of the world in commemorating International Women’s Day (IWD) amid calls for increased efforts to end gender-based violence (GBV).
IWD has been commemorated every year on March 8 since 1975 as a United Nations focal point to reflect on challenges faced by women.
The theme for this year’s celebration is Gender Equality for a Sustainable Tomorrow, while Zimbabwe’s theme is Gender Mainstreaming and Women Empowerment in Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Women Affairs, Community and Medium Enterprises Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni said although significant milestones had been recorded in addressing GBV and gender equality, more still needed to be done to achieve gender parity.
“GBV is on the rise in the country, and the whole world and this has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. GBV and exploitation rise as resources and income dwindle, arable land becomes increasingly scarce and climate change increases.
“All this has affected the achievement of gender equality. Harmful cultural and religious practices have also worsened GBV,” she said.
Nyoni said GBV on women was often employed as a way of reinforcing gender imbalances and maintaining control of limited resources.
“When girls and women are displaced, they are often unable to continue their education and pursue economic opportunities. Women and girls also face higher rates of child marriages, domestic violence, sexual violence and human trafficking due to climate change”.
She said the government would offer services such as one-stop centres, safe shelters and police victim friendly units, adding that six one-stop centres had already been established in
Manicaland, Midlands, Matabeleland South, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and Harare where psychological and legal services were being offered.
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