VP Chiwenga 1 The Pearl Dream Inc

President pledges support to women, youth

Zvamaida Murwira-Senior Reporter

The measures to promote inter-generational equity, including reserving seats for women and youth in both Parliament and local authorities are among the reforms of the Second Republic to build bridges between individuals of different generations from the local and national level, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.

His administration had signed international protocols aimed at bringing gender equity and increase the number of women in decision making positions.

In a speech read on his behalf by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga in Harare during a high level intergenerational dialogue on women’s political participation, he noted that youths also wanted to be part of the changes that are already seeing women benefit.

The event running under the theme: “Stimulating Inter-generational Dialogue and Solidarity Between the Generations: A Shared Responsibility” was organised by African Women Leaders Network, a continental platform meant to galvanise women’s leadership of Africa and drew several women from the continent who have either retired from active politics and those still in politics.

“I am aware that the youth want their voices to be heard and to have a more direct impact on development of policy and other guiding frameworks that affect their issues. 

“The engagement by the youth should be understood in terms of inter-generational dialogue, collaboration, learning and substantive decision and that giving them autonomy to explore new ideas is vital for a progressive society,” said President Mnangagwa.

“In this regard, my Government has put in place various measures to promote inter-generational equity, including reserving seats for women and the youth in both parliament and local authorities. In pursuance of the objectives of Agenda 2063, my Government, through our legal frameworks, values gender equality and equity in politics.

“Zimbabwe is signatory to many declarations aimed at increasing women’s leadership and decision-making. Under my leadership, the Second Republic has extended provisions in the Constitution which provide a quota of 60 seats set aside for women for proportional representation in Parliament. 

“Furthermore, we have introduced a 30 percent women’s quota at Local Government level. These positive developments, which counter-balance the constituency-based first past the post electoral system, which is viewed by some as highly competitive and not friendly to women.”

At the Ministry level, said President Mnangagwa, it was commendable that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development had developed a Women in Leadership and Decision Making Strategy which calls for the youth to be engaged in decision making at all levels.

“Globally, it has been observed that when generations are brought together, it challenges the conventional approaches to governance and helps to build bridges between individuals of different generations from the local to the national level. 

“Therefore, more work must be undertaken to ensure that the needs of today are fulfilled without compromising the potential of tomorrow. From the oldest of us to the youngest, living tomorrow must mean that we all have to make sure that the future will turn out better than today,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Whilst the gap between generations can sometimes seem to be larger than ever before, we have more to gain together, in solidarity. Hence, with inter-generational dialogue, engagement between generations can be improved.

“It is my hope that this dialogue on women’s political participation will be a learning process and tool which will bridge the inter-generational divide, including through harnessing the demographic dividend to foster learning, experience sharing and mentorship on social and political leadership. 

“It is heartening to see the formation and successes being scored by organisations such as Young Women for Economic Development and the Concord Young Women in Business, among others.”

He urged women to have male gender champions in the women’’s movement. 

“This is the one of the fastest ways to change the narrative for women in all sectors. A culture of positive masculinity should be encouraged at all levels from the male leaders to the young boy across the social strata. On its part, my Government is committed to the advancement of women issues and their inclusion in governance and political processes,” he said.

Inter-generational partnerships improve communication and understanding between different generations and also allowed for the introduction of young women to the political arena, improve mutual understanding between generations, and provide a platform for identifying new talent among young development practitioners and politicians.

“These partnerships also provide a platform for improving inter-generational equity and ensuring better outcomes for sustainable development, and through organisations such as the African Women Leaders Network, enable the mobilisation of new members and enhancing decision making related to sustainability,” said President Mnangagwa.

“It has been noted that matching seniors and juniors for purposes of learning has demonstrated that both individuals learn from the process and that attitudes can shift for the better. Furthermore, values can be retained and passed down to younger generations, while fresh questions and solutions can encourage concrete actions.”

The African Women Leaders Network Zimbabwe Chapter is chaired by Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni.

The event was attended by Government Ministers, traditional leaders, political party representatives, United Nations Women Zimbabwe, the African Union and the Embassy of Ireland in South Africa who have been supporting the organisation, Sadc Parliamentary Forum and development partners.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *