Sir Collins reflections on the International Womens Day: Zimbabwe Commemorations


The global theme for International Women’s Day in 2021 is ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’. COVID-19 has impacted women and girls in profound ways, amplifying the inequalities they face every day. It is fundamental that diverse women’s voices and experiences are central to national and global recovery plans.

This year’s International Women’s Day campaign has chosen the theme #ChooseToChallenge with the idea that a challenged world is an alert world and individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions.

International Women’s Day has become a date to celebrate how far, women have come in society, in politics and in economics, while the political roots of the day mean strikes and protests are organised to raise awareness of continued inequality.

Gender parity will not be attained for almost a century,” according to the IWD campaign, referring to the World Economic Forum, it says “none of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and nor likely will many of our children”.

It’s also recently been a very tough time, with data from UN Women revealing the coronavirus pandemic could wipe out 25 years of increasing gender equality . Women are doing significantly more domestic chores and family care because of the pandemic, which in turn, can impact upon job and education opportunities.

In my submission I refer to the systems model, where competitive organizational behavior depends on the ability to identify and manage functions and relationships between Climate Action and Gender Equality. The governance of the viable organizations then has to address and direct the system towards a final goal by transforming static structural relationships into dynamic interactions with other viable systems.
The ability to organize relationships delineates the efficiency of governmental action, which is a central characteristic of viable systems, contributing to the equilibrium of the system from one side and to the satisfaction of supra-systems’ expectations from the other. For International Womens Day commemorations, it is important to consider the compatibility between systemic actors (stakeholders) and to improve the effective harmonic interaction between them

The more women are engaging as full members of the societies they live in and leading the development of their country as an organization can also be seen as a system which is made up of interrelated parts that interact to achieve its goals.
Relationships are therefore important for the development of the International Women’s Day especially relationships between Gender Equality and Climate Action in the global management of the Gender Equality and Climate Action.

Gender equality is promoting the full participation of women in all spheres of influence on the basis of equality with men.
Gender equality is possible and it is happening empowering women to exercise their voices and influences in economic and political systems, and to compete in and transform the economic markets around them.
In Zimbabwe’s Constitution of 2013, has strong provisions to advance gender equality and rights of women and girls.
Gender equality is one of the founding values and principles (Section 3) in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. And the recognition of the rights of women, the elderly, youth and children among others, is listed among the principles of good governance.
Knowledge and Information on what is contained in the Constitution of Zimbabwe provide women citizens with a starting point to understand their values and essential contribution to National Development.
The rights and freedoms guaranteed to women in the Constitution of Zimbabwe particularly section 56(Equality and non Discrimination) which states that women and men have the right to equal treatment, including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres; and Section 80 ( Rights of Women) which states that every woman has full and equal dignity of the person with men and this includes equal opportunities in political, economic, and social activities; and Women have the same rights as men regarding the custody and guardianship of children, but an Act of Parliament may regulate how those rights are to be exercised; and All laws, customs, traditions, and cultural practices that infringe on the rights of women as given by the Constitution are rejected. In other words, discrimination in personal matters and based on customary law is no longer allowed in Zimbabwe.
Women’s and girls rights to education, health care, food and water, labour Rights, among others are guaranteed also in the Constitution of Zimbabwe and in line with the International Bill of Rights for Women; Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) ratified in 1991.

Good relationships between these two parties are important for the development of Gender Equality and Climate Action. If relations are good then development takes place but if relations are sour then there is no development.
I have noted with great concern that Women in Zimbabwe constitute the highest number of voters and votes in any election but their line Ministry in government is not specific to Women’s issues but clustered with Small Medium Enterprises and Community Development which causes tensions on budgetary votes and allocation thereby affecting Women’s socio-economic and political programs.

Gravely concerned about the lack of meritocracy on appointments from Ward, District, Provincial and even National levels for example 60 seats are reserved in the National Assembly for Women, six from each of the 10 provinces. These women are elected through a system of proportional representation based on the popularism or tokenism votes cast for candidates representing political parties in general election for Constituency members in the province and the same applies to Senate where sixty (60) of the eighty (80) Senators are elected, six from each of the 10 provinces, under a party list system of Proportional representation, based on the same criteria used by the National Assembly.
Eighteen (18) of the Senators are Chiefs, including two elected by the provincial assembly of Chiefs from each of the 10 provinces, and the President and Deputy President of the National Council of Chiefs; and two Senators, one female and one male are elected to represent people with disabilities.

This above mentioned concerns may be addressed to the Gender Commission (Independent Commission) created by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Gender Commission has nine (9) members, a Chairperson appointed by the President of Zimbabwe, and eight (8) appointed by the President, Seven(7) from a list of nominee’s and one nominee from the National Council of Chiefs.Several of the key functions of the Gender Commission, among others include
•To monitor issues of Gender Equality to ensure that gender equality provisions in the Constitution are observed;
•To investigate possible violations of Rights relating to Gender.
•To recommend prosecution for criminal violations of Rights relating to Gender.

Frequently cited causes of friction by most Civic Society Women percieved as Anti government and Policy Makers as bonafide Patriots , mistrust and suspicion between the two parties;one party dictating to the other the course which development should take place and lack of transparency among other
Conflicts are bound to occur in the following situations; when responsibilities and roles are either not clearly defined or overlapping and when certain groups have gone beyond their mandates.
Role conflict involves real disagreements in defining roles expectations or responsibilities between individuals who are interdependent in a Civic Society Organisation, if there are ambiguities in role definitions in a Civic Society Organisation or unclear boundaries or responsibilities, then the stage is ripe for interpersonal frictions between the persons involved or parties involved. As noted, the best way to avoid role conflicts is through the clearly written statement of respective roles, powers and duties.
Conflicts can be described as the differences of individuals or groups interests, opinions or purpose. Conflicts can be between individuals, groups or parties. Kreps (2008) asserts that a conflict is an expressed struggle between two or more competing positions held by one or more individuals usually based on incompatible beliefs, ideas or goals. Conflicts arise whenever perceived interest collide. The collision can result from a divergence in expectations or ideas. Hanson (2009) argues that conflicts result from interactions of people within the organization thus conflict cannot be avoided in any organization.
I have identified some causes of conflict within the Civic Society Organisation perspective; these include disagreements in goals and values, inadequate information, competition over limited resources and role conflict.
Financing constraints are also magnified for Women led firms, which tend to be small in size, and although often less productive than formal enterprises,contribute significantly to economic activity and employment. Women led Unregistered firms rely mostly on informal financing, which — although important in facilitating access to finance — is associated with lower firm growth and increased firm illegality.

With this challenge, an opportunity arises for both policy makers and the Civic Society Organisation to intervene at various levels to try to encourage the formalization, participation and growth of Women micro-, small and mediumsized enterprises in international, regional and national markets, including through access for all to capacity building and financial services, such as affordable microfinance and credit.

Micro, small and medium sized enterprises are vital in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular in promoting innovation, creativity and decent work for all.
Efforts to enhance access to finance for Small Medium Enterprises across key sectors of national economies are an important element of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets 8.3 ( Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises including through access to financial services)and 9.3 (Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets)call for enhancing the access of Small Medium Enterprises to financial services. In addition, Small Medium Enterprises are an important element in the implementation of SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure.

While Women’s property ownership may mean the ownership of any kind of property, land included, here land ownership is used to mean the ownership of land for either subsistence or commercial purposes, mainly in the countryside (outside urban areas).
It is increasingly accepted that the way forward for our planet into the 21st century and beyond will depend on our understanding of the multiple and complex linkages which have made this climate what it is.

Climate Action encourages the development of lateral thinking by focusing the link between society and land. The current interest and debate on global change scenarios and planetary features can only be conducted within a framework of global village time scales. The concern about the sustainable link between wealth creation for Women and the environmental protection also assures an important role for climate action.

There is greater need to adopt a Global Equity seal to improve Women’s Economic and Political Empowerment;
√Supporting Rural and Urban Women to Access and Control of resources and assets,
√Ensuring decent work and social Protection
√Fostering entreprenuership through delivering financial and business skills training and resources so that they grow their businesses.
√Catalyze Legislative and Policies that ensure gender equality and empower women economically and politically from grassroot level.
√ Expanding and strengthening Women’s Leadership so that they influence decision making bodies
√ Improving participation in electoral processes

If you have ever settled for the status quo and then wondered why Gender equality and Climate action isn’t going the way you’d hoped, then you need to realize that you will only reach your potential if you have the courage to push yourself outside your comfort zone and break out of a mind set of mediocrity. You must be willing to leave behind what feels familiar, safe, and secure.
You must give up excuses and push forward Gender equality and Climate action. You must be willing to face the tension that comes from stretching toward your potential. That is the only way to avoid what poet John Greenleaf Whittier described when he wrote,“For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been.’ ”
I rest my pen!

Authored by: Colin Simbarashe Nyangani
aka SirColin
Community Development Consultant

Check out Colin Simbarashe’s Nyangani’s profile on LinkedIn


Tendai Guvamombe
the authorTendai Guvamombe