• 8 Mar, 2024
  • United Zimbabwe Alliance

UZA 2024 Statement on International Women's Day

Today marks International Women's Day. A day when the world celebrates the achievements of women and girls around the globe and reflects on the challenges girls and women face in achieving gender equality. The United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) joins the world in celebrating this important day under the theme “Inspired Inclusion". 

UZA is built on a foundation based on women’s empowerment. Our gender equality policy is based on promoting the social, political and economic inclusion of women and girls and we are honoured to work with women around the world. On this day, we reflect and take stock of the progress that girls and women have made. A lot has changed in the world and significant progress has been made with women beginning to take the lead in many areas of our society.

Women have and continue to contribute tirelessly towards progress and advancement. There is still a lot to do, but the progress made is commendable. Societies are transforming and women are taking the driver’s seat in many ways. We have had female leaders in business, governance and technological advancement in our country, which is part of the wonderful journey our young nation has had. Although significant strides have been made, the desired meaningful transformation and inclusion of women is yet to be achieved. 

The visibility and inclusion of girls and women has increased, albeit slowly. Women’s economic opportunities and political participation have increased significantly, but UZA believes more should be done and this is reflected in our party's leadership and policies. UZA recognizes the progress made in access to education, employment opportunities, entrepreneurship, and property rights. 

Women’s inclusion must transcend race and social status, as women of all backgrounds, races and countries rise and participate on all economic fronts. Although the numbers are on the rise, they remain lower than for males. Globally, the gender gap in labour force participation has increased from an average of 30% for women in the 1990s to 65% in 2023, representing commendable progress, while men saw an 80% to 90% increase for the same period. In Zimbabwe, women face an uphill battle, particularly when it comes to economic participation and inclusion. Although more and more women are finding employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in all sectors, the level of inclusion is almost negligible, especially when compared to their male counterparts. During the land reform programme, only 10% of women gained land and women were largely left out in key sectors of the economy such as mining and manufacturing. There is an urgent need to address this imbalance, as UZA believes that women’s inclusion and participation is essential for economic growth and stability.

Through various initiatives, UZA's policies will prioritise women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship in all sectors of the economy, including resource extraction, manufacturing, tourism and science and technology. Women are making huge strides in the small spaces they occupy, and UZA is determined to see more women in more meaningful roles. This alone has the potential to stimulate economic growth and social stability. UZA believes women’s inclusion is a priority that requires urgent national attention. 

Across the globe, women have significantly increased their political participation, with women holding important positions both in national governments, as well as in multinational organisations and other key institutions. There are currently 33 female presidents worldwide, while the proportion of female ministers and parliamentarians averages 33%.

In Zimbabwe, after the 2018 elections, women constituted 31% of parliamentarians, while female councilors made up 28%. These numbers dropped in the 2023 election despite legal quotas for the inclusion of women in governance. UZA's policy objectives are designed not only to empower women economically, but also to inspire them to take the lead in their own growth and development. As more women are trained and initiated into leadership positions, women’s participation will not only increase based on statutory quotas but will also increase organically as women become actively engaged, challenge issues of governance and shaping policies that empower them to become an essential part of the nation’s development.

In support of our policy goals, the United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) has launched projects and programmes aimed at empowering and educating girls and women. We recognise that women and girls are especially vulnerable to abuse, when they are not sufficiently educated. Our education policy focuses on the inclusion and access of girls, whose early small successes have unfortunately been wiped out by neglect and the economic collapse in Zimbabwe, particularly in rural schools. Infrastructure is collapsing, inadequate and often under-resourced. Most severely this collapse has affected girls, many of whom are pulled out of school to help at home and support their struggling families, particularly single parent families which are often headed by women. 

Child marriage is also a consequence of economic collapse and inadequate education for girls. This age-old problem has persisted in our society and appears to be on the rise. This is a grave concern that UZA, together with its partners is consistently working on through current policies that can address this issue at the national level. Primary schools currently have an 80% graduation rate while secondary school graduation rates are around 56%, which is incredibly low. Young girls often fail to complete school at this level. Some are withdrawn, some are abused, while others fall pregnant. Again, girls who live and study in rural areas suffer more due to high levels of poverty. This scourge is also increasing in poorer, more densely populated locations

There is, however, much to celebrate. Women have proven to be a powerful force in our country and around the world. There are more and more women and girls in classrooms, averaging of 56%. Politically, women have emerged as a strong and effective force for progress and development. Countries, institutions, companies and societies headed by women are performing well and are competitive. What was a mere dream 100 years ago has become a beacon that inspires generations of girls, women and men. UZA is proud and honoured to join the world in celebrating this day and the many victories achieved by women and girls. As part of a national and global network, the United Zimbabwe Alliance is committed to contributing to the inclusion and empowerment of women. Together we can achieve gender parity and inclusion and create a world that enables everyone to reach their full potential and be the best of themselves.

For more about us, visit the United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) website, unitedzimbabwe.org
or email : info@unitedzimbabwe.org