Institute for Young Women’s Development (IYWD) 2022 Independence Day Statement #WhatWomenWant

The Institute for Young Women’s Development (IYWD) joins other progressive supporters of the feminist and pro-democracy movement to commemorate Zimbabwe’s 42 years of independence from colonial rule. This year’s commemorations are held under the theme, “Zim@ 42- Leave no one or place behind”.

We salute and forever cherish the invaluable contributions of many brave young women and women who have participated in the fight against oppression, injustice and discrimination, envisioning an inclusive and developmental state in which women’s rights are promoted, respected , protected and realized.

We strongly believe that a number of changes are needed so that no one or place is left behind in realizing the aspirations of those who have fought for a better Zimbabwe. The changes range from politics, how we use and care for our resources, values, attitudes, beliefs and norms to how we perceive and treat each other. Such transformational change requires the collective power and solidarity of every individual, family and every part of our communities, our country and the world at large.

As Zimbabwean women, we want and demand here;

  • Functioning public services that are affordable and/or free, and easily accessible, in rural and urban areas, and that meet our rights and needs. These include clean water, decent housing, electricity, street lighting, and quality universal health care and reproductive health care services.
  • Full and equal participation of women in all decision-making structures and processes that impact our lives. From community management structures to district development to local and national governance, we want full and equal rights to participate without fear or violence
  • A transparent and accountable state that uses our national resources for goods and services that expand the lives of ALL women.
  • A demilitarized state, which respects the inherent rights of people. We demand accountability for all human rights violations committed in Zimbabwe over many decades. The culture of impunity, especially for sexual violence against women, must end.
  • An economy that works for us as women. One that does not depend on the exploitation of our unpaid care work, but recognizes, reduces and redistributes the care and domestic work burdens of women and girls. We demand policies that protect the rights of women in the informal economy as well as smallholder women farmers who are the majority and who drive the Zimbabwean economy.
  • A country where ALL women can make choices about their bodies and access sexual health services without fear of reprisal or attack. We demand all rights and freedoms for all sexual minorities.
  • A society where women are free to engage in artistic and cultural expression without fear of reprisal.
  • That the government use the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to uproot the exposed underlying factors that make women and girls vulnerable to poor health and economic exclusion, in order to truly promote and protect our human rights.

Source: IYWD

Mara R. Wilmoth