Today is the start of the global campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. Around Harare, women’s organisations have come up with campaign strategies to raise awareness about gender based violence, from now until the 10 December.
This year’s theme is From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Let’s Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women.
Harare has a growing network of partners and organisations that seek to address and empower women to end gender based violence. In the past weeks, in the run up to the campaign, there have been public dialogues on gender violence. These have emphasised the role patriarchal systems play in embodying harmful traditions and legal policies that normalize violence against women, denying women their right to a life of dignity.
Zimbabwe Women’s Bureau (ZWB) director, Ronika Mumbire told participants at a public forum at a US Embassy PAS facilitated program that violating women’s rights is violating a human right. This is illustrated in the timing of the 16 Days of Activism, which starts today on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ends on Human Rights Day, commemorated on 10 December.
The forum was attended by women from different organisations who highlighted the issues facing women, including rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment at work, the perception of single mothers in society and sexual abuse of woman in front of children. The forum also discussed ways of empowering women and working towards the elimination of violence.
To tackle these issues and to rise up during the 16 Days, organisations such as ZWB, TegaTogether, Speak Out, Youths for the Youths Footprints and With Love Foundation have planned dialogues and marches in the city.
TegaTogether Founder Thuli Chimanga, whose organisation’s efforts are to de-stigmatize and uplift single mothers’ social standing, says she founded this organisation out of the frustration of being a single mother. She believes that there is help, hope and power in numbers.
Chimanga is excited by the coming together of different women’s organisations in this campaign. “Pooling together towards the same goal brings different sectors, circles and networks together,” she said.
These women strive for women’s empowerment within society. The marches, dates still to be announced, will take place in the CBD, locally and in some regions.
The dates of the marches are still to be confirmed. We’ll keep you posted.