12 Mar 2022
Today ZCTU commemorates the International Women’s Day (IWD) is to promote gender equality and to motivate people to work together to make the world a more equitable place.
Apart from gender equality, the day is dedicated to human rights organisations and to women’s rights movements bringing attention to issues such as violence and abuse against women and awareness on their reproductive health rights. The day is also observed to honour women’s cultural,
political, and socio-economic accomplishments.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions this year celebrates (IWD) as part of the global community, under the Theme: “Empower, Elevate and Respect Women for A Sustainable Future : #BreakTheBias”.
The theme resonates well with the UN Theme which seeks to promote a world that is diverse, equitable, inclusive and ultimately free from bias, stereotypes and
discrimination in the face of climate change, disasters and pandemics.
Gender equality is a central element of climate justice. Women and girls are exposed, and will continue to be, more vulnerable to the effects of climate change and environmental degradation.
The following facts are undisputable:
• Women and children are more likely to die than men in natural and man-made environmental disasters;
• When resources are scarce due to drought or deforestation, women have been subjected to sexual and gender based violence in order to gain access to water or firewood;
• According to the World Economic Forum, less than 20% of land in the world is owned by women. As a result, women’s livelihoods take longer to recover after economic and climate shocks.
• Because women are often poorer, have less access to education, and are frequently excluded from decision-making processes, they are left with fewer coping resources at their disposal.
• In addition, women’s needs, priorities and knowledge are often ignored or overlooked when it comes to climate policies and interventions.
Climate justice, therefore calls for addressing such inequalities and responding to the unique challenges and opportunities for different groups of people, linking up human rights to development in order to achieve a human-centred approach, safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable people.
Women and girls continue to be exposed to vulnerabilities especially in the context of looming disasters, wars and pandemics. COVID -19 saw women, girls and persons with disabilities being more exposed to violence and harassment over and above the socio -economic suffering that came with the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions. Women have struggled in between care work and
the lockdowns which destroyed sources of livelihood for everyone.
ZCTU Women’s Committee, on behalf of the working Women in Zimbabwe, this year Demands: -
1. Dignity, Respect and Enforcement of Women’s Rights.
2. International Women’s Day to be declared a public holiday
3. Ratification and domestication of ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work;
4. Zero tolerance to Gender Based Violence and Sexual Harassment at Work;
5. A strong , comprehensive law on sexual harassment and gender basedviolence;
6. National awareness & rehabilitation programmes for abused women and girls;
7. Free sanitary ware for women and girls;
8. One day off per month for all women during menstruation period
9. Respect and enforcement of Human & Trade Union Rights;
10.Compulsory formulation of workplace policies on violence and harassment.
11. Salaries and Wages to be paid in United States Dollars
12.Resuscitation of Industries and the economy now;
13.Control and Reduction of prices of basic commodities;
14.Paternity leave for our male counter parts
15.Free testing and treatment for all types of Cancer
16.COVID 19 allowances and protective equipment for all workers.
17.Equal opportunities &treatment especially in situations of disasters and pandemics.
18.An End to Child Abuse and Child Marriages Now.
19.Viable and effective Health Delivery System Now.
20.Access to maternity benefits & protection for women in casual employment.
In conclusion, Women need to summon the fortitude to overcome all obstacles in their lives in order to achieve significant progress. On behalf of the ZCTU Women’s Committee, I urge you all to unite, demand protection of women’s rights and let us strive to break the bias. I wish you a fruitful commemoration.
Nothing for Us without Us. Shinga Mudzimai Shinga!!! Qina Mama Qina!!