MDC Alliance Assembly of Women joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Women’s Day on 8 March under the theme: Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world. The theme celebrates the incredible efforts by women and girls around the world in determining an equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s International Women’s Day comes as Zimbabwe continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and its harsh impact on women who normally bear the brunt. Women find themselves in man made poverty due to government’s misplaced priorities, broken marriages, loss of jobs and also total shut down of the informal economy which is mainly dominated by women and again the raising cases of domestic violence due to lockdowns and the unpaid care work.
Hats off to the women of Zimbabwe who stood as front line workers fighting COVID-19 pandemic as health care workers, home-based caregivers, as they constitute the majority of these workers. We see them risking their lives working without adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and failure by Government of Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health to fully appreciate their efforts.
Despite women making up a majority of front-line workers, there is disproportionate and inadequate representation of women in national and global COVID-19 decision making thereby hindering sustainable development.
Women leaders and women’s organizations have demonstrated their skills, knowledge and built networks to effectively lead in the fight against COVID-19 through embracing the new normal ways of virtual meetings and workshops. Apart from encouraging women to fully and effectively participate in decision-making, finding ways of eliminating gender based violence in order to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls remains our key priority.
We note with great concern the use of lockdown restrictions to abuse women and citizens of Zimbabwe by the police and army in the name of law enforcement. The unfair treatment of the opposing voices when it comes to breaking of covid restrictions where members of the ruling party are not arrested when they break the so called covid restrictions. Thus we saw a lot of people, including women being exposed to covid 19 in prisons without personal protective equipment and social distancing.
The Assembly of Women feels that in order to uphold women’s rights and fully leverage the potential of women’s leadership in pandemic preparedness and response, and provision of safety nets, they must be fully involved in every stage of decision making. The government top officials must stop looting the Covid 19 funds, and provide emergency relief packages to every household since the covid 19 pandemic has caused an untold suffering to the already suffering Zimbabweans due to poor governance.
We are happy that the MDC Alliance party, through its Health portfolio managed to come up with an alternative covid 19 plan which when religiously followed Zimbabwe can be a better place in terms of responce and management of covid 19.
Here is to wish every Zimbabwean woman home and away a happy International women’s day.
Spokesperson MDC-A Assembly of Women