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 theme“INSPIRING 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!!!