4th Annual ZHA Conference Presenter #ZHA2018

The rise of women empowerment in Southern Africa. Building on the legacy of the Beijing Conference. The case of Zimbabwe (1995-2010)

Chiukira Levious leechiuks@yahoo.co.uk

For women’s international fight to accomplish equality, empowerment, and peace, September 1995 was the zenith of epochs of a worldwide movement and in excess of a year of rigorous preparations and consultations. The conference held in Beijing, China was the turning point in women rights history.   Emissaries discussed and espoused the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which was sought to advance the goals of equality, development, and peace for all women. This necessitated the rise of women rights and led to other regional and national policies being drafted for empowerment of women. It was a turning point in the history of the struggle for space and voice in the political, economic and social arena. They deserved the best and everybody knew about it but no one was willing to take charge for charge. The world wake up with demands from women and nations had to act and ensure that women became liberated and there was no turning back. A sleeping giant had awakened from the slumber and the rules of the game had to change. There was need for change of policies and laws and that required swift movements. Significant work remains to be accomplished to eradicate   resistance and tokenism that continue to dominate public discourses and engagements to advance gender equality. The paper seeks to trace the period from 1995 to 2010 to explore the challenges faced by women in trying to be accommodated in the economic, political and social space in Southern Africa using Zimbabwe as a case study.  The study shall look into protocols and proclamations which sought to empower women during this period and evaluate their successfulness in their endeavours. It will conclude by drawing lessons and offering recommendations.

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