Beyond Inequalities may set pace for emancipation

THE Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN) last week launched a book titled Beyond Inequalities 2005: Women in Zimbabwe, which reviews the progress in women’s status between 1998 and 2004.

This feminist voice also documents data on women’s e

mpowerment in Zimbabwe for use in awareness raisings.

Jointly written by Patricia Made and Nomasoni Mpofu, the book was launched during the Nango conference in Harare by Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development minister, Oppah Muchinguri. The publication seeks to forge the way forward for women by bringing about an impetus and lobby platform against the marginalisation of women.

For many years, women have been confined to the twilight zone in terms of representation and activism in the country’s political, economic and social dynamics, which to a greater extent have been male-dominated.

This book can be used by women as a score-card and reflective mirror analysis of the situation of women in Zimbabwe since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995. Out of the critical areas of concern in the Beijing Platform, Zimbabwe identified five core areas to wok on, which include women and the economy; education and training of women; women in politics and decision-making; institutional mechanism for advancement of women; and women and health and HIV/Aids. It goes on to examine the gendered impact of various policies and programmes, which have been introduced in Zimbabwe from 1998 and 2004.

In its situation analysis under culture and socialisation, the book asserts that: “Illiteracy, economic dependency, and prevailing social norms prevent women, rural women and girls in particular, from combating societal discrimination.”  ZWRCN recommends in the publication  the need for an ideological shift towards ensuring transformation of social structures and systems for gender equality including constitutional reform to “outlaw discriminatory practices; incorporating the gender dimension into HIV/Aids policies, and eradicating violence against women. Although to date there is a glaring disparity of power imbalance between women and men, with the pendulum heavily tilted in favour of the latter, the book turns a blind eye to men susceptible to domestic violence”.

Experts in the field of gender contend that the issue of gender inequality is dynamic and stakeholder encompassing thus it can only be achieved through gender equilibrium, which calls for transformation of pejorative social structures and norms to do away with patriarchal societies. However, the book could set the pace for feministic emancipation in Zimbabwe. — Staff Writer.