By Evans Muranganwa – An umbrella body of women organisations in Zimbabwe, Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe is concerned with some provisions of the Gender Commission Bill.
Speaking to this publication, Chairperson of Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe Virginia Muwanigwa said though they acknowledged the coming in of the bill, there exist many flaws in some provisions which she said need to be addressed.
“The Bill does contain very strong and good provisions but however it needs to be strengthened so that it may contribute to the achievement of gender equality in Zimbabwe,” she said.
She said recently they were holding meetings with the parent ministry, the ministry of women affairs on some queries on the Gender Commission Bill but they seemed not forthcoming but said she is positive something will come up.
The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe has since produced a paper entitled ‘Strengthening the Gender Commission Bill, Reflections by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe’
The paper states the lack of independence of the commission missing from the Bill.
“A section on Independence should be included in the draft’, states the paper.
It also argues that the definition of gender is not clearly defined.
“There is always a challenge in the understanding of gender as being only about women and said such a misconception can be addressed by defining gender and its tenets in the interpretation section,” concurs the paper.
The paper says definition of gender should be taken from the national gender policy or the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
The fact that Minister can appoint staff through secondment from the current ministry of women affairs, gender and community development is one issue the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe is concerned with and said it just means an extension of the Ministry.
The lobby group also attacked the fact that the significance of the Gender Commission is not clearly stated.
“There is need to state the significance of the Gender Commission beyond the mention of Section 245 of the constitution to include the recognition of the creation of Commission as a key institution to work towards the elimination of the systemic barriers to gender equality and women’s rights in Zimbabwe and towards the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women in Zimbabwe,” says the paper.