|Goal 3 - Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women|
Targets and Zimbabwe Trends
There is near equality in enrolment in lower secondary school by gender. However, girls comprise only 35% of the pupils in upper secondary schools and the secondary school completion rate is higher for boys.
The literacy rate of 15-24 year olds was 99% in 2003 for both men and women.
Completion rates at primary level declined from 73% in 2001 to 68% in 2006 for males and 71% in 2001 to 69% for in 2006 for females.
Female university enrolments increased from 23% in 2006 to 37% in 2007.
Women in Parliament increased from 14% in 1990–1995 to 18.55% in 2008.
Status and Trends
In the 2005 elections, women comprised 28% of councillors in rural district councils and 10.5% in urban councils. Now, women comprise 18% of urban councillors and 19% of rural councillors.
Although approximately 52% of the population in Zimbabwe is female; women are disproportionately represented in politics and in other decision-making positions. While there is gender parity in primary school level, and near gender parity at lower secondary level, particularly in the lower forms (Forms 1 to 4), the gender parity decreases in upper levels, where the representation and completion rates amongst girls are low.
The trend in increasing women’s participation in decision making in all sectors shows a slight increase in the number of women representation in parliament from 14% in 1990 to 19% in 2008. This is however below the 2005 target of 30%. Zimbabwe has had a female Vice President since 2005 and a female Deputy Prime Minister, President of the Senate, Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, and Judge President of the High Court between 2006 and 2010.
At other levels of decision-making, 67% of Public Service Commissioners are women, 29% are Supreme Court and High Court Judges, 41% Magistrates, 42% Administrative Court Judges. In the police force, 25% of deputy commissioners are women, 36% Senior Assistant Commissioners and 17% Chief Superintendents. There is a need for greater qualitative and quantitative representation in decision-making positions in the public and private sectors
Major Challenges to achieving Goal 3
Although there are at least 17 pieces of legislation in place that enhance the status of women, the lack of specific legislative provisions on quotas is a barrier to the increased representation of women in elective positions. The Constitution and electoral laws of the country are silent on quotas to advance the representation of women in elective public positions. In addition, there are gaps between government and political parties’ policies and practice. Moreover, the constituency-based electoral system is viewed as highly competitive and does not easily allow for holding of seats in parliament by women. Politics is an expensive business and women in Zimbabwe seldom have access to resources to fund their election campaigns.
The absence of clear affirmative action provisions in the Constitution is also a problem, as is the lack in adherence to those affirmative action policies that actually are in place. While there is some significant increase in the representation of women in public sector decision making, this still falls below the 50% gender parity.
Zimbabwe has a good track record in ratifying key international and regional instruments. The 2008 SADC Gender and Development Protocol that advocates for, inter alia, 50:50 gender parity in decision-making positions at all levels of development, and which Zimbabwe’s Parliament ratified in 2009, requires domestication through constitutional reforms. However, the National Gender Policy (NGP), and related policies and legislation all fall short on enforcement
Requirements for Achieving Goal 3
Factsheet 3 - Gender Equality
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