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New Constitution-making process - Index of articles
Ratification, rhetoric and rare implementation of international
and regional standards on women's right to participate in decision
making in Zimbabwe: If adopted, will the new Constitution change
November 07, 2012
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Women in Zimbabwe
constitute 52% of the population meaning that they are in the majority.
This statistic does not translate to women's proportionate representation
in decision-making processes. Women are under-represented and are
often left on the sidelines, while men position themselves as the
front runners in politics as political leaders, in the law as judges,
in business and corporate giants as directors and top management.
The advantage that men enjoy, and the disadvantage that women endure
are due to a number of political, social and economic factors including
the nature of politics characterised by patronage and violence,
the patriarchal nature of society, gender stereotyping and how these
factors impact women's decision making abilities, the distribution
of wealth and women's inability to access resources to improve their
are various regional and international instruments that seek to
improve women's participation in decision-making among these the
Protocol to the SADC Gender and Development Protocol, the African
Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa
(the Maputo Protocol) and the Convention on the Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Zimbabwe has done
very well in ratifying these regional and international instruments,
signifying its willingness to be bound by the provisions therein.
The implementation of these regional and international norms has,
however, not been as smooth. It has been hampered by a plethora
of challenges- top of which is the non-domestication of these norms.
This has largely
been a function of the dualist system that the Constitution of Zimbabwe
advocates; namely that any conventions or treaties that Zimbabwe
signs and ratifies cannot become binding and have the force of law
unless Parliament puts in place an Act of law giving them such force.
Now, Zimbabwe is in a process of making
a new Constitution, whose likelihood of becoming 'THE' Constitution
of Zimbabwe is becoming more real by the day. It is hence trite
that in light of that development this analysis be conducted to
determine if at all, the possible adoption of a new constitution
will improve the implementation of regional and international standards
that seek to improve women's participation in decision-making processes.
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