WASHINGTON DC —
Zimbabweans will on Sunday join the rest of the world in marking International Women’s Day amid calls for the country to declare March 8th a national holiday.
According to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, this year’s International Women’s Day will highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women’s rights.
U.N Women says while there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain.
It says this is the time to uphold women’s achievements, recognize challenges, and focus greater attention on women’s rights and gender equality to mobilize all people to do their part.
Beijing Platform for Action
The Beijing Platform for Action focuses on 12 critical areas of concern, and envisions a world where women and girls can exercise their choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!”
For perspective, VOA Studio 7’s Ndimyake Mwakalyelye spoke with Zanu PF lawmaker for Goromonzi West in Mashonaland East province, Beatrice Nyamupinga, who is also chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development.
Nyamupinga said a lot has been done in Zimbabwe to cater for women.
Over many decades, the U.N has made significant progress in advancing gender equality, including through landmark agreements such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
The organization says gender equality is not only a basic human right, but its achievement has enormous socio-economic ramifications.
Women Promote Economies
“Empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurring productivity and growth. Yet gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society. Women lack access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps.”
The U.N further says they are too often denied access to basic education and health care. “Women in all parts of the world suffer violence and discrimination. They are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes.”
For many years, the U.N has faced serious challenges in its efforts to promote gender equality globally, including inadequate funding and no single recognized driver to direct its activities on gender equality issues.