Zimbabwe: Tackling Gender Disparities for Women’s Safety

Gender-based violence (GBV) poses significant challenges to Zimbabwe‘s social fabric and development.

Development Diaries reports that in Zimbabwe, approximately 11.6 percent of women have experienced sexual assault and 39.4 percent of women have experienced physical violence, according to recent World Bank findings.

Despite efforts to address it, GBV continues to manifest in various forms, including physical, sexual, psychological, and economic violence, with a substantial number of women experiencing physical and sexual violence.

Our understanding from the World Bank report titled Persistent Gender Disparities Hinder Women’s Safety and Productivity in Zimbabwe is that Zimbabwe needs more effective enforcement of GBV legislation and the establishment of legal frameworks that categorically criminalise GBV.

The recently released Zimbabwe National Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-based Violence 2023–2030 reflects the government’s commitment to ending violence against women and children in the country; however, more legislative work has to be done.

Strengthening the legal framework to ensure perpetrators are held accountable is crucial, alongside promoting gender equality and challenging harmful social norms.

Additionally, investing in initiatives that empower women economically and enhance their access to education and health care can help address the underlying factors contributing to GBV.

To significantly reduce GBV and promote peaceful, respectful relationships, targeted, systematic, evidence-based awareness programmes need to be developed, implemented, and evaluated, especially in areas where GBV is prevalent.

Development Diaries calls on the Parliament of Zimbabwe to amend the 2007 Domestic Violence Act to tackle harmful cultural practices and extend coverage to GBV incidents outside the domestic sphere.

Source: World Bank

Photo source: Zimbabwe Independent


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