ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe Women Urged to Further Participate in Constitution Drafting Process

Monday, September 13, 2010
African Press Agency
Southern Africa
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APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The Women's Coalition of Zimbabwe said Monday that fewer females than males are participating in an ongoing exercise to gather public views on the proposed Constitution and warned that women risked having their concerns left out of the new charter.

According to the coalition, women comprise only 38 percent of overall attendances during the constitutional outreach programme that started in June.

“On average, women account for a small (only 14.6 percent) of the speakers at outreach meetings. This means that our issues have not been articulated adequately,” the group said.

It urged more women to attend the final outreach meetings scheduled for the capital Harare and the second largest city Bulawayo on 18 and 19 September.

“Members are encouraged to attend and participate effectively in the outreach meetings to ensure that women's rights issues come out strongly in the draft Constitution. This will be the final push for women to make an input into this process,” said the coalition.

Zimbabweans hope a new Constitution will guarantee human rights, strengthen the role of Parliament, as well as guaranteeing civil, political and media freedoms.

The drafting of a new Constitution is part of reforms meant to entrench democracy in Zimbabwe.

The country's coalition government is expected to call fresh elections once a new Constitution is in place, most likely in mid-2011.