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Mutsvangwa calls for more women chiefs

GOVERNMENT says it is committed to having women considered for traditional leadership roles to promote gender equality, Women’s Affairs minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.

Mutsvangwa yesterday said there was need for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women including in the traditional leadership structures where over 80% of positions are held by men.

She said this while addressing traditional leaders in Harare during a meeting that was held under the theme Enhancing Justice Outcomes for women in traditional courts of Zimbabwe.

Mutsvangwa cited the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa that calls for women to be granted a range of rights to address their unique needs within the African cultural framework.

“The protocol emphasises that women are entitled to equal rights and dignity as men, and are encouraged to uphold African cultural values that promote equality, dignity, justice and democracy,” she said.

“Traditional courts can play a crucial role in addressing gender issues by providing a culturally sensitive and accessible forum for women to seek justice and work towards reversing harmful traditional practices that perpetuate gender inequalities.”

The Traditional Leaders Act specifies roles of chiefs such as promoting cultural values, facilitating development as well as resolving disputes in their communities.

Mutsvangwa said having women in traditional leadership structures would promote a more gender-sensitive and inclusive court system.

“They can also promote dialogue, education and empowerment within communities to foster a more inclusive and equitable society,” she said.

“By recognising the importance of gender sensitivity, traditional courts can contribute to building a more just and equal society.”

National Chiefs Council president Mtshana Khumalo said every traditional leadership structure in the country now includes women.

“We we now have women as village heads, as chiefs, as headmen, and as assessors. They also enjoy those cultural chores equal to men, which was taboo before the enactment of the Constitution.”



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