Choosing To Challenge!
Students And Youth Working on reproductive Health Action Team (SAYWHAT) joins the world in commemorating the International Women’s Day, a day that we take time to reflect on efforts made in advocating for the creation of an equal world for both women and men.
This year’s theme is, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. SAYWHAT resonates with the theme.
SAYWHAT takes this opportunity to identify, celebrate and increase visibility of the achievements that have been made by young women as we work towards realising equality between them and fellow young men in various spheres of life.
As the commemorations have been globally hash tagged #ChooseToChallenge, we choose tocontinue challenging the achievement of a gender parity as we would want to see a world where each gender is represented equally – a world that ensures equal access of women and men to the same opportunities, rights, education and materials.
The advent of COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, brought with it new barriers in addition to the already existing social and systemic barriers to women’s participation in leadership. World over women are reported to be experiencing increased domestic violence, job losses and pausing or closure of the small businesses that bring food to the table. The pandemic induced poverty surge has also been reported to be widening the already existing gender poverty gap hence pushing more women into extreme poverty than men.
SAYWHAT takes pride in the role played thus far in the creation of equal opportunities for the young women as well as contributions to the creation of a women friendly environment in tertiary institutions beyond the Zimbabwe borders. Through the Web for Life Network – a movement for young women in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa – we have nurtured young women into becoming leaders in various spaces. We have made strides in ensuring that young women are empowered to assume leadership positions within the various spaces including student representative councils (SRCs).
SAYWHAT also takes pride in the Mugota/ Ixhiba Young Men Forum – a platform for young men to dialogue on their Sexual and Reproductive Health issues – that has also been challenging each other to undo the inherent gender stereotypes and socio-cultural norms and values that undermine women as equal partners.
As we commemorate this day, we acknowledge efforts by Government to put in place policies that advocate for the realisation of gender equality while at the same time we challenge Government to do more in strengthening the implementation of these policies to ensure a gender just nation where women are unconditionally empowered. Without gender equality and women empowerment, the country will not be able to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it acceded to.
A challenged world is a vigilant world and from challenge we realise change hence we all need to #ChooseToChallenge for the creation of an equal world for both women and men.
An equal world is possible and it begins with you and me!
Happy International Women’s Day!