Addressing hundreds of women attending a high-level dialogue of women empowerment in the political, socio-economic and political spheres, in Harare today Cde Mugabe said the existence of government institutions to advance the status of women is testimony to Zimbabweâ€™s commitment to the empowerment of women and the girl child.Â
The high-level dialogue which will run for the next 3 days has drawn participants from Zimbabwean womenâ€™s groups and former Irish leader and first female president of Ireland Mrs. Mary Robinson. Mrs Robinson is leading a group of 10 eminent African women including Zimbabweâ€™s Mrs. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda , who is the World YMCA secretary-general.
Â In his address, President Mugabe said Zimbabweâ€™s commitment to equal rights and opportunities for women is underscored by the various national regional and international pieces of legislation the country has signed and ratified to enhance the status of women and the girl-child.
These include the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women on the international arena, the AU protocol on womenâ€™s rights and the SADC protocol on gender and development.
Through its own initiative, Zimbabwe has introduced the legal age of majority act of 1987, the equal pay regulations, and the domestic violence act among others to improve the status of women.
Cde Mugabe bemoaned lack of progress in the empowerment of women in the private sector and highlighted some of the programmes that government has established such as the creation of a womenâ€™s empowerment fund and the US$500 000 community development fund that has been implemented , the 23 million smes fund in this yearâ€™s budget where 60 percent is for womenâ€™s empowerment.
The President also took the opportunity to warn those bent on meddling in the work of the organ on national healing, reconciliation and intergration by doing clandestine activities that are also partisan.
Cde Mugabe also went on to enumerate some of the laws that the government of Zimbabwe has put in place to protect women and children against violence such as the domestic violence act and the proposed employment of domestic violence wardÂ counselors whose recruitment is being hampered by lack of resources.