WOMEN’S EQUALITY, ACCESS TO CITIZENSHIP AND DEMOCRACY IN SOUTH AFRICA

Get Complete Project Material File(s) Now! »

International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

The first human rights instrument of the United Nations was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that was adopted in 1948.10 The UDHR deals with the provision of human rights in general with no particular attention paid to women’s rights, hence its exclusion from this chapter. However, it is acknowledged that its existence laid the groundwork for the birth of the ICCPR. The International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) was drafted as a follow up measure to help operationalize and implement the UDHR.11 The ICCPR came into force in 1976 after meeting the required 35 ratifications. It has 53 articles in total of which 23 articles provide for various rights.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the first tool concentrating specifically on the rights of women at an international level. CEDAW was the fruit of advocacy efforts of women activists, diplomats and United Nations officials.17 CEDAW was crafted in March 1980 and came into force in September 1981. Its adoption signified a historic landmark in the struggle for gender equality. A further amendment to CEDAW was done in 1999. This amendment allowed for the establishment of the Optional Protocol that allows individual complaints to be made against State parties for violations of the Convention. CEDAW is recorded as the most widely ratified International Human Rights instrument with a total of 187 States having signed it by December 2013.18 Only seven countries in the world had not ratified CEDAW as at December 2013.19 A number of African states, including Zimbabwe, South Africa, Lesotho, and Kenya ratified this convention.20 Zimbabwe ratified this convention in May 1991 at around the same time it ratified the ICCPR.

WOMEN’S EQUALITY: 2013 CONSTITUTION OF ZIMBABWE

As noted before, international and regional frameworks alone cannot effectively foster changes in the politico-legal perception and status of Zimbabwean women. There needs to be concomitant changes complementing international and regional treaties and also domesticating international law on human rights for international and regional agreements to make any social impact. As such, the discussion at this point considers the nexus between the Zimbabwean 2013 Constitution and the International and Regional agreements cited above. Particular emphasis is paid to the protections on women’s legal and political rights guaranteed by the constitution although socioeconomic considerations are taken into account as well.

Equality Before The Law and Equal Protection And Benefit Of The Law

Section 56 begins, in Subsection 1 of the 2013 Constitution, by according everyone equality before the law and equal protection and benefit of the law. Two important and yet distinct equality protections offered by Section 56(1) of the 2013 Constitution are equality before the law and equal protection of the law. Both equality before the law and equal protection of the law, are not defined in the 2013 Constitution. However, equality before the law has been said to denote equal treatment and equal protection before the law and it implies that the existing law will be applied or enforced equally on all people in similar situations and no person shall be denied the protection or benefit of the law without a legitimate reason.85 Obviously, this includes women and as such constitutionally, protection of equal rights extends even to women.

READ  LITERATURE REVIEW OF THE CONSTRAINTS, PROBLEMS AND STRESSORS EXPERIENCED BY WORKING WOMEN

Unfair Discrimination

In the 2013 Constitution there is a provision addressing unfair discrimination in Section 56(5) which is deemed as any discrimination which is based on grounds listed therein.94 Unfair discrimination simply means different treatment of different people ‘attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, color, sex, origin, property…’95 There are twenty-three listed grounds upon which unfair discrimination is presumed in the Zimbabwean Constitution. This can be described as a far-reaching provision of the 2013 Constitution which offers wider protection against discrimination than its predecessor, the 1980 Constitution. The prohibited grounds of discrimination, if enforced, may go a long way in protecting women from unfair discrimination and improving their status. Among these twenty-three grounds of discrimination, those that are related to women status are sex, gender, custom, marital status and pregnancy.

Sexual Orientation

The 2013 Constitution did not only omit sexual orientation from the listed prohibited grounds of discrimination, but also closed the door for this to constitute an analogous ground by specifically condemning same sex marriages. Section 78 (3) of the 2013 Constitution provides that ‘persons of the same sex are prohibited from marrying each other.’ In S v Banana the constitutionality of the crime of sodomy was brought before the Supreme Court.104 The Appellant was convicted of two counts of sodomy and several other counts involving sexual offences between him and other men. The offences were committed at a time when the Appellant was the President of Zimbabwe.

TABLE OF CONTENTS :

  • LIST OF ABBREVIATION
  • CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
    • 1.1. Research problem
    • 1.2. Background
    • 1.3. Motivation
    • 1.4. Assumptions
    • 1.5. Research Questions
    • 1.6. Theoretical approach and methods
    • 1.7. Structure
  • CHAPTER TWO WOMEN’S STATUS IN PRECOLONIAL, COLONIAL AND POST – INDEPENDENCE: ZIMBABWE
    • 2.1.Introduction
    • 2.2.Status of women in the pre colonial era
    • 2.3.Women status during the colonial era
    • 2.4.Theorizing gender inequality: the feminist perspective
    • 2.5.Status of women under the 1980 constitution
    • 2.6. Women status under Government of National Unity
    • 2.7.Conclusion
  • CHAPTER THREE EXAMANING EQUALITY OF WOMEN IN ZIMBABWE UNDER THE 2013 CONSTITUTION
    • 3.1. Introduction
    • 3.2. Women’s equality: International and Regional instruments
    • 3.3. Women’s equality: 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe
    • 3.4. Implementation of equality provisions
    • 3.5. Other factors
    • 3.6. The role of Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development
    • 3.7. Conclusion
  • CHAPTER FOUR DEMOCRACY, CITIZENSHIP AND EQUALITY
    • 4.1. Introduction
    • 4.2. Citizenship
    • 4.3. Democracy
    • 4.4. Linking democracy and citizenship
    • 4.5. Linking citizenship and women political equality
    • 4.6. Linking democracy and equality
    • 4.7. Linking democracy, citizenship and equality
    • 4.8. Gender mainstreaming
    • 4.9. Conclusion
  • CHAPTER FIVE WOMEN’S EQUALITY, ACCESS TO CITIZENSHIP AND DEMOCRACY IN SOUTH AFRICA
    • 5.1. Introduction
    • 5.2. Women’s status before 1996 Constitution
    • 5.3. Women’s equality under the 1996 Constitution
    • 5.4. Women’s access to democracy And citizenship under 1996 Constitution
    • 4.5. Challenges in accessing democracy and citizenship
    • 4.6. Conclusion
  • CHAPTER SIX BEST PRACTICES FROM SOUTH AFRICA AND OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS
    • 6.1. Introduction
    • 6.2. Lessons for Zimbabwe
    • 6.3. Other recommendations
    • 6.4. Conclusion

GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
WOMEN’S INEQUALITY AND THEIR STATUS IN ZIMBABWE

Related Posts