Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
Zimbabweans will today join the rest of the world in commemorating International Women’s Day, which is running under the global theme “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”.
The commemorations, which will take place at Nemangwe Cotton Marketing Board in Gokwe, Midlands province, will also run under the local theme “Sustainable infrastructure and access to public services for gender equality and the empowerment of women”.
Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Dr Sithembiso Nyoni said this year’s commemorations were guided by the need to celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness on gender issues and concerns.
She said some of these issues include revisiting social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality.
Minister Nyoni said Government also seeks to develop innovative ways to advance gender equality and empowerment of women, facilitate achievement of sustainable development goals and coming up with innovative approaches that remove the ‘business as usual mentality.’
“In terms of health, women encounter numerous constraints in accessing affordable, adequate health services e.g. clinics, hospitals, reproductive health/family planning and counselling services).
“There is need for a gender-based approach to public health, which addresses the specific health vulnerabilities and risks of women and girls,” said Minister Nyoni.
Midlands provincial development officer in the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Mrs Sithembile Dube said the stage was set for the main event.
“The stage is set for the national commemorations, which will take place here in Gokwe at Cotton Marketing Board. A number of activities are lined up for the day, including entertainment from various artistes,” said Mrs Dube.
To celebrate the International Women’s Day locally, IOM Zimbabwe will also facilitate a discussion on property rights, involving 15 of its civil society organisation (CSO) partners in Harare.
In a statement yesterday, IOM said through this discussion, the organisation will promote the notion of equality through encouraging women to acquire legitimate properties and follow due diligence with respect to property registration.
“As one of IOM partners, we are excited to be part of these commemorations. Women’s empowerment and gender equality are at the core of our programming and this event will give us opportunity to discuss property rights, an issue that affects equal participation of women in development.
“Being aware of property rights will empower women to purchase and secure their properties,” said Ms Blessing Gorejena, director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, which is one of the 15 CSOs working with IOM.
Medecines Sans Frontieres (MSF) said as Zimbabwe commemorates this year’s International Women’s Day, focus should also be on intenstifying vaccination of girls against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer.
“While thousands of women in rural Zimbabwe now have access to the screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions, the best way of stopping the disease from developing in the first place is to vaccinate girls against the human papilloma virus (HPV) before they are exposed to the virus,” said MSF.
The International Women’s Day was set aside in 1975 by the United Nations to give official recognition to women’s voices.
Each year, the day is celebrated under a different theme, which member states can adjust to suit their situations.