Monthly Archives: March 2014

Arrested for Commemorating International Women’s Day

Arrested for Commemorating International Women’s Day

4 young women were arrested and detained for 3 hours for organising an activity to commemorate the International Womens Day (IWD). Glanis Changachirere IYWD Director, programmes staff Gillian Chinzete,  Sekai Nyadzayo and Nyasha Sengayi a women’s rights activist who had come to anchor the event were detained by the suspicious individual purpoting to police officers in Glendale, Mazowe district.   The young women through the Institute for Young Women Development had organised a film festival activity to profile young women’s narratives and their quest to transform their lives.

Lined up for the day was to start by showing a documentary titled Young Women’s Lived Realities that documents the lives of young women from rural, farming and mining communities in rural Mashonaland. This was to be followed up by artistic performances to tell how the young women have worked with the IYWD to transform their lives.

The day which started as an exciting prospect of celebrating young women’s lives was disrupted at the beginning of the activity when IYWD staff and community mobilisers started receiving anonymous threatening calls to cancel the activity with immediate effect. Few moments following the calls, the IYWD staff and Ms Nyasha Sengayi were taken aside the venue by plain clothed and self-acclaimed police officers for questioning while more than 200 young women who had gathered for the commemoration were given an hour’s time to disperse or face unspecified action.  Baffled by this order, the young women demanded reasons and defied the order arguing that they will not disperse as they have commemorated such a day annually without facing such challenges. They said this was their day and would not allow the anyone to spoil it by denying them their right to celebrate themselves.

After a 3hours’ detention, the quad were released and forced to dismiss the women within less than 20minutes, on the pretext that they cannot commemorate IWD before the national launch of the day by the Minister of Women’s Affairs on 26March in Harare. What shocked the team was that the police came later to monitor the activity only to be told that they had ordered for its cancellation. The local district administrator’s office even confirmed to the police that they know and work with IYWD in the area.

Speaking at the sidelines of the gathering young women expressed their disappointment and frustration on being denied to celebrate themselves for such a reason. They lamented such acts are a threat to young women’s security as they do not who the callers were and whether the respect the national call to end violence against women both in their private and public lives.

The IYWD is deeply concerned at such moves which threaten the commitment of the state duty bearers to uphold women’s rights. Zimbabwe has ratified the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women which encourages the eradication of violence against women.  Such elements are therefore acting against the commitment of the Zimbabwean government to protect and provision of women’s rights.


Happy Women’s Day!

The Institute for Young Women Development joins the world in observing the International Women’s day which is annually celebrated on 08 March. The day marks various accomplishments of women in shaping their communities in different ways.

IYWD is inspired by Gloria Steinem’s statement that the “story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to collective efforts of all who are about human rights.’

Celebrated under the United Nations themeINSPIRING CHANGE”, the day reviews and enforces the change of women’s political, social, economic and cultural rights while focusing world attention on areas requiring further action.It was first celebrated globally in 1977 and this has become custom since then and as an organisation, IYWD has taken this opportunity to reflect on its journey thus far, reviewing its accomplishments and areas that need improvement.

The organization has been encouraging young women in marginalized communities to rise and take part in developmental processes while facilitating the economic independence of young women in the marginal areas of Mashonaland Central. Statistics reveal that although women constitute the greater percentage of the total population, the impact of their voice does not tally with the large number that they constitute. Due to high levels of polarization, most have linked governance processes in Zimbabwe to partisan-politics hence have continued to marginalize young and women in general. Consequently, the voice of women is over shadowed by that of their male counterparts. This is one area requiring a change of mind-set which the organization has been tackling over the years.

This day provides an opportunity to address and look ahead in address challenges being faced by women in different parts of the world and as shown by the UN statistics that up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under the age of 16. Globally, 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime.  Although in Zimbabwe the government has put in place the Domestic Violence Act, violence against women continue to rise. A recent report by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development (MoWAGCD) revealed that gender violence is on the rise, with Mashonaland Central topping the list at 56%.  Further statistics also reveal that 70% of women in the world, report having experienced physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. For IYWD, his day thus serves to reflect on the work by women and organizations on the rights of women and girls. We celebrate such efforts, call upon all the government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Justice and MoWAGCD and all citizens to respect the rights of women and girls and inspire positive behavioral change towards women and the girl child and their status in present day society.  

In celebrating this day, we invite all to join us on Wednesday in the Mazowe District of Mashonaland Central as we profile the narratives of young women from marginalize communities, and their footsteps in transforming the lives of women and girls in their communities.

Happy Women’s Day!!!