Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe, Kariba Chapter, engages men on gender inequality and discrimination
The engagement had several goals, including increasing male responsibility for women's rights and gender equality, promoting UNSCR 1325 and raising awareness about it.
Zimbabwe: On July 19th, 2022, the Kariba Chapter of the Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe organised a discussion with male champions in Makande at the Makande Ward Centre in rural Kariba with the goal of inspiring them (boys and men) to speak out against gender inequality and discrimination.
Monica Muchenje presided over the meeting.
The engagement had several goals, including increasing male responsibility for women's rights and gender equality, promoting UNSCR 1325 and raising awareness about it, and identifying at least 5 men who will stand up for women's rights and combat gender inequity in their communities.
The conference also emphasised the importance of addressing the historical, cultural, patriarchal, and attitudinal barriers that prevent women from exercising leadership and making important decisions.
"We have decided as males of this society that women will be given opportunities to lead," said an elderly man who introduced himself as Mujoni.
During the meeting, an 18-year-old man stated, "Gender-based violence has not benefited any group in any country. As the incoming generation, we will fight GBV as we fight for democracy and equal opportunity."
The engagement's goal was to identify at least five gender champions. Following the meeting, however, 16 men volunteered to serve as Makande's gender champions. They agreed to inform their friends about the effects of GBV and its benefits.
Among the 16 volunteers were the Makande Chief, nine village heads, one councilor, and five secretaries to the village heads.
Men in the Makande community expressed concern for the well-being of their female counterparts.
They acknowledged that some of their behaviours were influenced by cultural patriarchy and thus out of date.
Some of the key issues that emerged from the discussions included patriarchy, in which men impose authority over women and determine what they can and cannot do, and a lack of education as a result of the community's prevalence of child marriages.
Participants were able to identify issues that may prevent women from assuming positions of leadership. Participants noticed that the majority of young women were illiterate because they had stopped attending school after being married as children.
As a result, they are unable to describe developmental difficulties adequately.
Gender-based violence is another reason why women are unable to fully participate in governance. One of the attendees stated, "Mhirizhonga yakanyanya munharaunda dzedu dzatinogara zvinova izvo zvinokanganisa mudzimai kuti asimuke" (gender-based violence is a serious problem).
Participants also emphasised that, in some cases, when a woman assumes leadership, she becomes a patriarch because she oppresses other women and men in the community.
As a result, men will find it difficult to continue voting for women to hold positions of leadership. Participants also mentioned cultural and religious beliefs in the community that men should focus on community development while women should focus on childrearing and domestic duties.