HARARE, (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwe on Wednesday joined the rest of the
world in commemorating the 2017 International Women’s Day.
Thousands of women
and girls gathered at the Harare International Conference Center
where they celebrated the day at a colorful event that was
punctuated by song and dance.
Speaking at the
event, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe Bishow
Parajuli said Zimbabwe has made great strides in women
empowerment and gender equality although more effort is still
needed to create an environment where women and girls can
achieve their full potential.
He noted that
Zimbabwe has performed well in women representation in
parliament which currently stands at 35 percent, higher than the
global average of 23 percent.
Zimbabwe had also
achieved gender parity in primary education and had enacted
several laws to protect women and girls from gender based
violence and other abuses, Parajuli said.
He voiced UN’s
commitment to continue supporting gender equality and women
empowerment in Zimbabwe, saying these were key to achievement of
sustainable development goals.
He said Zimbabwe,
however, needs to continue working hard to ensure women and
girls have access to education and resources as well as remove
structural barriers, gender discrimination and gender
marriage was also key to protecting the rights of girls and
ensure they reach their potential, Parajuli said.
Zimbabwe is one of
the countries in sub-Saharan Africa that still has a high number
of girls that marry under the age of 18 mainly due to poverty
and harmful cultural and religious practices.
“As the UN we would
like to voice our strong commitment to collaborate with the
government of Zimbabwe to provide space for women and girls to
achieve their potential,” Parajuli said.
Guest of honor and
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) deputy governor Charity Dhliwayo
said the RBZ regarded women empowerment as one of the factors
important for the development of the nation.
The central bank had
put in place several financing mechanisms targeted at women to
ensure they have easy access to affordable financing for
businesses, according to Dhliwayo.
“The RBZ has
realized that women empowerment cannot be achieved without
ensuring their access to and usage of appropriate and affordable
financial products and services,” she said.
Minister Nyasha Chikwinya challenged women to play their part in
the development of the nation. She said her ministry was at an
advanced stage of setting up a women’s bank to cater for
financial needs of women.
The Day was
celebrated under the international theme “Be Bold For Change”
while Zimbabwe’s theme was “The woman we want: bankable,
business-minded, brainy, beautiful, bold, blessed and balanced.”