TODAY, March 8, we join the rest of the world in celebrating the International Women's Day, a day which is globally honoured as a holiday to pause and reflect on the state of women’s rights regarding gender equality, reproductive rights, violence and abuse against women.

It is quite pertinent that we in Zimbabwe zero in on the home situation for a better understanding of what the day means as we progress with the rest of the world on the road to recognising our womenfolk as equal to men.

This year’s signature theme is “Inspire Inclusion”, an apt campaign mantra which we hope should rally us all to include women in every facet of our economy.

“When we inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, we forge a better world. And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there is a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment. Collectively, let us forge a more inclusive world for women,” says an International Women’s Day message.

As much as the International Women’s Day message is so humbly inspiring, sadly in Zimbabwe our womenfolk are light years away from being included in key facets of our nationhood. This day is not even a holiday, but just any other day on the calendar.

Elsewhere in this edition of NewsDay we carry a story titled: Man bans wife from WhatsApp, which clearly highlights some of the harrowing emotional, mental and physical horrors our women are enduring each day in this country.

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A fresh and trending matter at hand, also highlighting the level of women exclusion in the country’s key matters, is last year’s harmonised elections and the by-elections which followed them. The spirited efforts to exclude women from running for office typified the gross rights violations being perpetrated on the country’s women, who are painfully and progressively being hounded and shunted out of the political arena by men and even more sadly by other women.

On this day, our women should find inspiration from one of the country’s first fighters of oppression, Mbuya Nehanda, a female spirit medium who was a true embodiment of humility who helped to arouse among us the spirit to free ourselves from colonial subjugation.

It is a pity that we currently have too few women with Nehanda’s resolve tingling in their blood, and we believe if there were more women eager and prepared to fight for recognition and inclusion, not only in politics, but also in economic and other spheres, we could have made strides as a nation towards embracing women as equal citizens.

It is quite dishearteningly odd that women, comprising the majority among us across all nations, are the most oppressed of all humanity and it is heart-rending that women have been kept under the radar for millennia through violence and downright abuse which has permeated almost every nook and cranny of our society.

While in other societies women are having it much better, in Zimbabwe we seem to be regressing back to the dark ages.

It is our humble submission that since societies are made up of families, the fight for women’s emancipation should begin from there where the ethics of love, peace and tolerance should be nurtured. 

Woman should be allowed and they too should fight, to take a leading role in instilling in their homes these values, whose absence from many homes is arguably leading to the proliferation of violence and abuse of women which is extending to communities, workplaces, institutions and all spheres of our nation.

We again call for more modern-day Nehandas to rise up from the gutter and stand their ground and resolutely fight violence in their homes through legal and other means possible because, charity begins at home. The time is now.