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GENDER and Women Affairs minister Nyasha Chikwinya has expressed concern over the increasing cases of child marriages, gender-based violence and human trafficking.
BY STAFF REPORTER
She said the family was instrumental in curbing these societal vices, which have had a huge impact on womem.
Speaking during the commemoration of the International Day for Families in Harare yesterday, Chikwinya the family played a key role in curbing gender-based violence.
“We have programmes in place that deal with these social ills, but we are very concerned by the high cases,” she said.
The minister said they had also launched a massive campaign to end child marriages and to date, they had managed to raise awareness within the communities, but more work was needed.
Zimbabwe is among countries with a high incidence of child marriages.
According to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey for 2014, 32,8% of women aged between 20 and 49 were married before their 18th birthday.
“However, we celebrate the ConCourt [Constitutional Court] ruling that specifies that the age of marriage is 18,” Chikwinya said.
Child brides has remained a challenge in Southern Africa, with empirical evidence showing that children are married off for financial gain.
Poverty-stricken families are likely to marry off their daughters early in a bid to escape from poverty. Another issue which Chikwinya raised was that of human trafficking.
“We are seized with this issue and young women have fallen prey to this,” she said, adding she was confident that families had the capacity to address these issues.
Meanwhile, Chikwinya said the intended setting-up of a micro-finance bank for women would empower them economically.
Family Day is a United Nations initiative and is celebrated every year on May 15.
“The day is important for us since it attaches great importance to the family as the nuclear unit of any society,” Chikwinya said.
Part of the theme for this year is Education, Families and Well-Being.
“It is a befitting theme because education remains a basic requirement for socio-economic development,” the minister said.