It is conventionally assumed that the middle class will be the strongest defenders of democracy, and therefore it might be assumed that middle class women would be similarly so. However, this does not seem to be true for Zimbabwe where the middle class, and particularly young middle class women, seem disengaged from political life.
A serious question in gender politics is the participation of women in politics and particularly in representative politics. In Zimbabwe, this has been addressed through a proportional representation mechanism that has added 60 women to parliament, but, however, this is due to a quota system, and, the number of women directly elected has dropped significantly. Representation is however not the only issue of importance, and the participation of women in political life generally is equally important.
In this opinion editorial Derek Matyszak looks briefly at the Constitutional Court's recent judgment on Child Marriage, and while appaluding the removal of odious laws around child marriage from Zimbabwe's law, takes issue with how this was achieved, the reasoning of the Deputy Chief Justice, who wrote the judgment, and suggests a dangerous precedent has been set.
In June 2014 the former Vice President Joice Mujuru said: “We are declaring war against rape and sexual violence”.
Speaking at the launch of the National Campaign against Rape and Sexual Abuse she also pointed out: “that although Zimbabwe has passed a number of laws ..... gaps still remain in the implementation of these laws and ensuring perpetrators are given deterrent sentences.”
With the recent swearing-in of Zimbabwe’s Gender Commissioners, RAU revisits some of the criticisms raised by civil society about the Commission - and adds some of its own.
With the spotlight once again focused on child marriage, the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) presents research on Marriage Laws and the mandated age of consent in The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region.
Attention was brought to the issue of child marriage with President Mugabe taking the lead. During his address to child parliamentarians, President Mugabe said child marriage causes irreparable damage to girls and denies them the right to personal development and to education.
This report was first published in January 2013. Due to its relevance to recent public debates, it has now been reissued.
early marriage it is equally important to be aware of the other underlying issues that foster child marriage.
While Zimbabwean is signatory to numerous key global instruments that are strong in seeking protection of children from harmful practices and sexual abuse, certain definitions and clauses in the country’s national policies and law are in contradiction with the government’s regional and international position.
While poor conditions in police cells in Zimbabwe affect both men and women, women suffer more injustices because of their biological make up. Women are arrested violently, harassed, assaulted, and intimidated in police custody. Women are beaten and taken into custody even if they are carrying babies on their backs when they demonstrate to show their displeasure with bread and butter issues, such as constant price increases.