ZELA Statement on the International Women’s Day, 2024

Celebrating International Women’s Day: Fostering Inclusion in Natural Resources Management

DATE OF ISSUE: 8 March 2024

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) joins the world in celebrating women’s achievements on this International Women’s Day 2024. However, we also acknowledge that despite the progress made towards gender inclusion and equality, a lot still needs to be done to ensure the rights of women, especially in natural resources management and governance.

It is , therefore, with a set of recommendations that we embrace the global theme for International Women’s Day 2024 – “Invest in women: Accelerate Progress” and campaign theme “Inspire Inclusion, themes which resonate deeply with the principles of gender and social inclusion (GESI) which are a core element of ZELA’s approach to programming and illustrate our commitment to ensuring that our activities are inclusive and responsive to the specific needs and challenges faced by women in the management of natural resources.

In our bid to promote women inclusion, we are guided by the ZELA gender issues paper which serves as a critical tool in furthering and directing our gender and social inclusion, transformative agenda by highlighting gender‑specific social challenges and opportunities within all ZELA areas of work. Thus, the gender issues paper will not only contribute to our strategic goals for 2025 – 2029 but will also facilitate our ability to effectively advocate for gender‑responsive policies and practices within the environmental and legal sectors in Zimbabwe.

Over the years, we have made deliberate efforts to advocate for women inclusion in key sectors, focusing mainly on natural resources management. Thus, our calls for decent working conditions or and inclusion of women across the value chain in the natural resources sector. We have been advocating for #Diging4Equality and #DecentWorkForWomen among other programs in the mining and extractive sector and we celebrate the establishment of various women-led mining associations such as Zimbabwe Women in Mining Association who have gone on to uplift and promote women participation and inclusion in the sector.

ZELA also notes that the climate crisis is not gender neutral. Women and girls experience the greatest impacts of climate change, which amplifies existing gender inequalities and poses threats to their livelihoods, health and safety. In response, ZELA has been capacitating women in the fisheries sector through providing training to fishing association on sustainable fishing to ensure a climate-resilient future. We have also been working with women farmers, training them on climate smart agriculture to boost productivity and enhance resilience.

This year, as per tradition, ZELA – in collaboration with global and national partners – is in the process of organising a premium event, the Gender, Climate and Extractives Symposium which has grown into a marquee annual initiative that promotes the inclusion of women in the mining and climate change sectors. It is our hope that this event will continue to inspire the inclusion of women across all sectors of the economy and spin off to other national processes such as Zimbabwe’s initiatives towards her first ever Climate Change law, where we envisage women being key stakeholders in both the formulation and consultation processes of the legal framework.

Accordingly, as we celebrate the significant achievements of women in Zimbabwe during 2023, including having the first female Attorney General in the history of the country, we continue to implore the government to create platforms and spaces that promote women’s participation and inclusion with less hurdles and challenges.

To achieve this, we the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association recommend the following:

  • The media to include and amplify the voices of women in the natural resources and local service delivery value chains.
  • Government to create and support women’s forums and spaces to advance their involvement in the management of natural resources.
  • Government to include and increase the participation of women in local and international natural resources’ governance forums.
  • Government to ensure the provision of continued technical support for women in the natural resources value chain.
  • Civil society organisations to advocate for and support efforts to promote and protect women’s rights in natural resources management and governance.  

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