United Nations Launches New Gender Equality Programme

Harare, 27 February 2014: In a milestone for the United Nations in Zimbabwe, the UN Women, ILO, UNDP, and UNFPA launched the country’s first joint programme to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.  Initiated with the support of the Government of Sweden, the programme will be implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development.

Officially launching the joint programme, Honourable Oppah Muchinguri, Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development explained that that this programme “is very significant as it brings together, UN agencies, development partners and a number of different gender equality advocates to support the Government of Zimbabwe in attaining its gender development goals.”IMG_4267_0.jpg

The Government of Sweden has contributed US $5.3 million to the programme which aims to accelerate the country’s advancement towards gender equality and women’s empowerment over the period of three years (2014-2017).

Speaking at the launch His Excellency Lars Ronnås, Ambassador of Sweden to Zimbabwe said, "Sweden has a long history of promoting gender equality in our own country and globally. Equal rights and opportunities between women and men are what we all should work for in each and every society. Sustainable development cannot be achieved unless women’s rights are respected, their voices heard and their skills counted."

The Government of Zimbabwe has demonstrated its commitment to the advancement of gender equality and women’s rights through a strong legal and policy framework. The country has signed and ratified international and regional instruments such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Southern Africa Development Community Gender and Development Protocol (SADC Gender Protocol), among others. The country adopted in 2013 a new Constitution that has strong gender equality and women’s rights provisions.

However, women in Zimbabwe continue to face social, political and economic inequalities. Gender equality and women’s empowerment commitments are underfunded, which further hampers national programming and coordination on the government’s commitments.

“This programme will contribute to strengthen joint efforts in gender equality, and by working together through the 2012-2015 ZUNDAF, we will continue to support Government of Zimbabwe in its efforts to build a just and fair society, with equity and better standards of living for all,” said Kemal Mustafa, Officer-in-charge of UN Women in Zimbabwe.

The programme will support the promotion of women’s political participation and influence; contribute to women’s economic empowerment and improvement of working conditions; and advocate for national accountability on gender equality and women’s empowerment. It will also contribute to the achievement of gender targets of the 2012-2015 ZUNDAF, which is aligned to government priorities on women’s empowerment and gender equality in the Zim Asset.