What is WCoZ. Network of prominent women rights activists and forty (40) women's organizations with national structures. A forum where women meet to engage in collective activismCentral role is to provide a focal point for joint WCoZ brings females from diverse backgrounds to collectively advocate for the attainment and enjoyment of their rights. .
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1. Advocating and Lobbying for Legislation Against Domestic Violence Using the Rights Based Approach Paper Presented by Netsai Mushonga, National Co-ordinator of Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ)
3. What is WCoZ Organisational members of the Coalition work in diverse fields including health
access to education,
gender based violence, torture,
skills training, poverty reduction,
research, property rights and
4. What is WCOZ The Coalition has chapters in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Gweru and Mutare and is about to embark on constituency building exercise to establish a chapter in provinces of Zimbabwe
Women face insurmountable challenges and the trick is to approach issues together. There is power in numbers.
5. Goal of WCoZ
Full and equal enjoyment of rights and freedoms by women and girls
6. Purpose of WCoZ To achieve gender equity and equality through the creation of a forum and space for women to meet in solidarity, for the initiation of and participation in strategies and actions for collective lobbying and advocacy, information sharing, monitoring and evaluation of women’s achievements.
7. Key Result Areas (KRAs) of WCoZ Co-ordination
Provide a focal point for activism that brings women from diverse backgrounds to collectively advocate for the attainment and enjoyment of their rights.
Mobilize women and build their capacity to articulate their demands.
8. KRAs of WCoZ Lobbying and advocacy
Undertake researches on topical issues affecting women.
Lobby targeted policy makers.
Mobilize women to engage in local level lobbying and advocacy.
9. KRAs of WCoZ Fundraising
Seek innovative ways of fundraising internally and externally.
Information and publicity
Facilitate information exchange among members and the public
Profile the WCoZ through disseminating information on member activities and that of the WCoZ
10. KRAs of WCoZ Strategic alliances and partnerships
Establish and strengthen existing networks/alliances nationally, regionally and internationally
Mobilize international women’s networks to support identified issues in Zimbabwe
Participate in international campaigns affecting women and girls
11. Priority areas of WCoZ Support enactment of legislation to protect the rights of women and girls
Awareness raising on positive living and access to treatment
Retention and facilitation of girl child education through intervention
Advocacy and lobbying around issues of Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order
12. Culture of violence against women project 1996 - 2006 International, regional and national instruments that support demands to prevent and address GBV
International Bill of Human Rights
Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or punishment 1984
1997 SADC Declaration on Gender and Development
1993 United Nations Declaration on Violence Against Women
13. Continued African (Banjul) Charter on Human and People’s Rights (1981)
AU Protocol on Women’s Human Rights (2003)
National Gender Policy (2004)
14. The Origins of Women’s Movement 1980 women rights NGOs sprung up in large numbers in response to rampant gender discrimination and inequality.
Pre-independence women organised in economic empowerment groups
Did not challenge the status core.
Pre-1980 women minors and did not own property
KWA, Ruwadzano, Savings Clubs
Position of women challenged by their participation in the liberation struggle alongside men.
15. Origins contiued WAG militant rights organisation
Set up in1983 in response to harassment and limited freedom of movement of women
Dramatized when 6000 women were arrested by the police for walking during the night under the infamous, “Operation Chinyavada.”
Musasa Project was set up provide counseling to abused women in 1988.
ZWRCN, WILDAF, WLSA, WASN, ZWWA were formed to challenge the status quo and demand women and girls human rights
16. Origins continued Huge strides made from 1980 -1995 in economy
Women had access to education and made inroads in proffessional fields
Women’s movement became stronger and stronger.
Sense of sisterhood grew
National Conventions were held for women and sharing and strategic planning for the women’s movement.
17. Legislation passed to support women’s human rights The Legal Age of Majority Act - 1982
The Inheritance Act
Equal pay Act
Labour Relations Act
Matrimonial Causes Act
Constitutional Amendment number 14
Constitutional Amendment number 17
Sexual Offences Act
18. The Culture of Violence Against Women Project The Culture of Violence Against Women Project started in 1996
Musasa made an Action Research (AR) by
AR interviewed a representative sample of one thousand (1000) women of 16 years and older
The AR was held in the Midlands Province where women of all languages and ethnicities are found.
19. Aims of the Research Find the gravity of the problem of domestic violence
Discover effectiveness of traditional/social methods of dealing with the problem
Effects of domestic violence on women and the society in general
Raise awareness of the illegality of domestic violence under international law
Investigate possible ways of addressing the problem from the affected population
Use the research to inform activities to prevent and stop domestic violence in Zimbabwe
20. Findings of the research AR found domestic violence (DV) was rampant
DV was impinging on women’s human rights to security, freedom, economic wellbeing.
Research revealed that 42% of women mental/psychological violence,
39% suffer economic violence, 37% suffer psychological violence,
32% suffer violence of a physical nature.
Sample of 1000 women interviewed only 15% of the women were not suffering any form of violence.
AR showed women were suffering gruesome violence at the hands of their partners and families.
21. Participation and Consultation The women and communities who participated in the AR recommended that Zimbabwe should have a law that addresses domestic violence.
Musasa Project shared the results of the AC with other women’s NGOs, government and civic society.
The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe decided to take up the issue for advocacy and lobbying at the national level.
22. Participation and consultation 2nd phase was a nationwide consultation of all stakeholders by Musasa Project.
These included soliciting input from government ministries, NGOs, traditional leaders, churches, men, women, children and the general public.
All stakeholders informed the drafting of the Domestic Violence Bill.
23. The role of the Women’s Movement Mobilised women and policy makers to support the campaign
WCoZ has lobbied, advocated and negotiated with policy makers for the passing of the DVB into law
Musasa Project with support of WCoZ made a petition with 1 000 000 signatures for the passing of the Bill in 2004
The AGMs of the WCoZ identified the DVB as a priority area.
WCoZ intensified the campaign
24. The role of the Women’s Movement WCoZ has held public meetings with stakeholders
Lobbied policy makers on the need for a comprehensive law to deal effectively with gender based violence.
Breakfast and evening meetings with MPs and Senators
25. Holding workshops, symposiums, meetings with civic society to raise awareness of the bill
Information dissemination on the campaign through e-coalition, news updates etc
Publicity campaign in newspapers, TVs, radio talk shows, adverts and billboards in support of the passing of the bill
26. What survivors did Gave testimonies to show the magnitude and types of domestic violence in our communities
Made recommendations to the government drafters on how to protect victims and survivors of abuse
Reminded government of their obligation to protect the human rights of citizens in international law.
Assisted to reveal the magnitude and gravity of the problem of domestic violence
At all stages survivors have spoken out clearly on the need for legislation to protect them from violence
27. Role of the survivors Survivors started their own networks for counselling and support and spoke out bravely
Assisted other victims to speak out
Pressured their members of parliament to support the passing of the bill.
Spoke directly to their MPs before giving a testimony and appeal to these to support the bill
Survivors in the movement spoke out
We spoke out about our experiences to policy makers to convince them of the need for a law.
Marched against three MPs who opposed the passing of the DVB and said it was a diabolic piece of legislation in October 2006
28. Negative effects Women human rights defenders are attacked in the media by male abusers.
Their names are maligned and they are given bad labels.
Men have also tried to attack women rights activists physically.
Women who break the silence of violence are threatened by the perpetrators
Married women who speak out about rape risk losing their marriages
29. Negative Effects Women who have broken the silence have had to live in hiding since abusers have threatened to kill them.
Women and girls who are raped are usually labelled as loose women by society
Women in the movement are perceived as “bad women” too aggressive and trouble makers.
Musasa Project which offers shelter has been labelled home breakers.
30. Dealing with the threats WCoZ has always expressed solidarity with women rights activists under attack.
WCoZ 40 organisations and 200 individuals. Targeting becomes difficult.
When an activist is under attack we investigate ways of protection including making the threat public or seeking safer shelter.
We have consistently used the public media to dispel some of these myths relating to women’s rights
We have reached out to work with male leaders and male role models to spread education on different aspects of women’s rights.
31. Concrete Gains Created the women’s movement in Zimbabwe.
Women discovered the power of working together.
Women of Zimbabwe developed the women’s charter which is a booklet on their constitutional and human rights demands.
Used as an advocacy tool at all levels
Raised awareness of women’s human rights and the challenges that women face
32. Concrete Gains Provided a platform for sharing information
Provided a focal point for women’s activism nationwide.
The movement has acted on critical issues such supporting potential women leaders, auditing gender policies of political parties and made presentation to human rights bodies
The capacity for advocacy and lobbying for women’s human rights multiplied during this process
33. Legislation for women in pipeline Legislation in the pipeline
Domestic Violence Bill
Ratification of the AU Protocol on Women’s Human Rights
Repeal of Section 23 of the National Constitution
Domestification of CEDAW and the AU Protocol on Women’s Human Rights
34. Conclusion on RBA Approach RBA approach has made us stronger.
When we consult and raise awareness we also educate and work together.
This is how the WCoZ was created when we discovered the power of coming together as women of Zimbabwe and articulating our demands.
We have learned to demand from the RBA approach.
All of our rights are guaranteed in international law and the governments should enact laws to safeguard these and implement.
35. Conclusion One of our member organisations has initiated gender budgeting as a nationwide campaign to force the government to allocate resources to women’s issues like health, education, addressing domestic violence etc.
Mobilising women to support this initiative
As we soldier in advocating for our human rights, the only very clear way forward is doing it as a movement and demanding what should rightfully be ours.