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Womens Movements during the crisis Presentation at 2008 AWID By: Getrude N. Murungu Senior Program Officer Research Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA)

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Presentation on theme: "Womens Movements during the crisis Presentation at 2008 AWID By: Getrude N. Murungu Senior Program Officer Research Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Womens Movements during the crisis Presentation at 2008 AWID By: Getrude N. Murungu Senior Program Officer Research Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) Zimbabwe

2 Political, socio-economic environment Zimbabwe is in a political, economic and humanitarian crisis. The crisis has continued and accelerated the suffering of women due to: Food insecurity – 72% of households are living under the national poverty line – US$400. Levels of stunting growth, the indicator for malnutrition are at 30%. It is considered high prevalence based on WHO criteria. Hyper inflation - in 2006 inflation was around 2 000%, making goods twice expensive as they were in May 2006. In January 2008, inflation was reported to have reached 100 000% by March inflation was around 160 000%.

3 Political, socio-economic context Violence during and after elections – sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional/psychological abuse Dollarisation has caused suffering as well as most of the citizens do not earn foreign currency Level of unemployment is more than 80% Collapsed health sector HIV and AIDS – women suffer as the infected and the affected (HBC and OVC) Collapsed education system

4 Why/How are women still surviving in this type of crisis? Restrategising and thinking of alternatives – more women are now doing cross boarder activities, women are purchasing commodities from neighbouring countries (S.A and Botswana). But what about those without the means? Commercial sex work – case study of GWAPA. Women donating food items/clothes in church to help each other Women coordinating each other to provide incentives to teachers so as to keep children in schools. Those who cannot afford?

5 State of the Womens Movement in Zimbabwe Vibrant and the history of Women's Movements dates back to the period during the liberation struggle. There are different types of Womens movements: Vana chimbwido – Womens Movement which provided support during the liberation struggle Political parties have Womens League Churches – Mothers Union Womens Organisations – Women of Zimbabwe Arise, Womens Coalition

6 Responses of Womens Movement during the crisis Provided material and counselling support to victims of political violence Provided shelter Provided legal support Womens Coalition of Zimbabwe which represent 52% of Zimbabwes population, the women; released / made submissions and released statements to the three political parties demanding that: 1.The Political Party Principals put the interest and concerns of the people of Zimbabwe first 2.The political Party Principals negotiate and conclude talks in good faith and urgently 3.SADC facilitates the formation of an inclusive government to be operational shortly, thus tackling the urgent challenges that the country is facing in accordance with the Agreement 4.The inclusive government be constituted by a fair representation of women within the spirit of the Government of National Unity Deal, SACD Protocol on Gender and Development and other regional and international instruments.

7 Contd responses Womens coalition organised a non-violent and non- partisan action to the delay in concluding the talks and the wide spread food shortages, and the theme for the protest was: Conclude the talks, We are dying of hunger / Pedzayi Hurukuro, Tafa nenzara. About 1000 women gathered near the SADC Troika Talks and 42 Women were arrested during the march near the venue of the SADC Troika Meeting, the charge pressed against them was gathering without police permission and they were made to pay a fine and were released.

8 Responses of Womens Movement during the crisis With respect to education - women have organised themselves into classroom committees which are looking after the welfare of teachers to enable their children access the right to education

9 Challenges faced by the Womens Movement in playing their roles Coordination – a lot was done by Womens Movement during the crisis but so fragmented Lack of proper documentation of what happened/is happening during the crisis hence also a challenge to respond. Lack of succession plans – also as a result for competition over resources or survival – Older members closing doors for young members. Patriarchy– almost all structures and key decision making positions are occupied by men and in some cases by gender insensitive women.

10 Challenges contd. Socialisation process – some women within the Womens Movement are not empowered / are not assertive to an extent that they do not actively participate or they withdraw at a certain stage hence demoralising others. Unnecessary competition for space due to lack of proper coordination

11 Challenges contd. Inadequate support from Board Members and in some cases conflict of interest between Board members and Management. Lack of clear and strong linkages between Women from Civil society and those from government and even from churches as Women from Civil society are often labelled in some cases – marital status is considered. Divided attention over strategic needs and more pressing immediate needs – poverty Womens programs are poorly funded

12 Opportunities The crisis has brought some commonality among women irrespective of their class – increased sharing of ideas, The crisis has also brought an opportunity for womens organisations to restrategise their programs – in terms o planning, implementation e.g. WLSA we saw ourselves strengthening our relationship with Ministry of Womens Affairs, Gender and Community Development As WLSA we also saw ourselves providing counselling services to victims of political violence hence we then realised that we need to be trained in counselling skills.

13 What the region, continent and world should do! Build the capacity of Womens Movements in relation to capacity to respond to emergencies, capacity to articulate issues in a latent crisis, Facilitate exchange visits with those countries in transition so as to learn from them Mobilise and provide resources for Womens programs (strategic and immediate needs) Put pressure to the three political parties to conclude the talks and form an all inclusive government were women are fairly represented as well.

14 Contd. SADC and the international community should also task the all inclusive government to commit to abiding by all the principles of good governance (Transparency, accountability, integrity e.t.c). This will provide a good and safe working environment for the Womens Movement Mobilise and provide resources for gender sensitive economic recovery programs in all sectors – agriculture, mining e.t.c

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