In this Human Rights Monthly we examine gender roles and inequalities that prohibit women from enjoying their rights. We look at the human rights of women in Zimbabwe and how well they are acknowledged and protected in the Zimbabwean Constitution and laws. 8 March is a day set aside every year by the United Nations to recognise women’s rights. On International Women’s Day this year, the Zimbabwean Government launched the National Gender Policy which seeks to address all forms of gender imbalances in the country. Its objectives include the promotion of equal and equitable access to resources between men and women. The policy also seeks to create equal opportunities for men and women in decision-making in all areas and at all levels of decision-making.
However, these objectives are not yet supported by any laws that will enable them to protect women. The necessary political will and sufficient state budgetary allocations to the relevant Ministries are required if Zimbabwe is to achieve equal rights for women in social, economic and political spheres. In addition, the rights of Zimbabwean women are still largely accorded to them within the confines of customary law. S23 of the Constitution protects Zimbabwean citizens from discrimination but also allows for discrimination on the grounds of “African customary law in any case involving Africans” according to s23(3)(b) of the Constitution.