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Concern over delays in aligning gender laws with Constitution

The Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) and the civil society organisations (CSOs) have expressed concern over the slow pace of alignment of gender laws to the constitution.

This was revealed by the report of the Zimbabwean delegation to the 75th session of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) held in Switzerland from 10 to 28 February 2020.

The delegation comprised the Minister for Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Sithembiso Nyoni, and representatives from other line ministries.

Presenting the report in Parliament recently, legislator Chido Madiwa said CSOs highlighted persistence gender inequalities in key institutions.

“Key issues in the ZGC report included concern on the slow pace of alignment of gender laws to the Constitution, inadequate resourcing of key institutions specifically to promote gender equality, curbing of violence against women and girls in humanitarian situations, failure to fully implement gender balance as reflected in section 17 of the Constitution,” said Madiwa.

“The ZGC proposed a Gender Equality Act to partly fulfil Section 17 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The report of CSOs (Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, Pakasipiti, Zimbabwe Sex Workers Alliance, Intersex Women and Girls in Zimbabwe and Human Rights Watch) highlighted, among other issues, persistent gender inequalities in key institutions such as the Cabinet, Parliament and Boards of Parastatals.”

She said the report also noted the deteriorating infrastructure and service delivery at health institutions and violence by security forces during the January 2019 unrests.

Madiwa added that difficulties in documentation of intersex persons, hate speech against Lesbians, Bi-sexual Trans-gender and Inter-sex (LBTIs) persons, and the trafficking of commercial sex workers were other crucial issues presented by the CSOs.

CEDAW was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 1979.

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