Women in Local Government (WLG)
The Women in Local Government Subcommitteeâ€™s membership is drawn from Gokwe (Chairing), Kariba (Vice Chair), Beitbridge, Lupane and Norton. These are female elected leaders (Mayors/Chairpersons) of the stated councils.
The WLG Subcommittee is the only subcommittee represented in the UCAZ Presidential Committee by its chairperson. This is provided for by the UCAZ constitution as a way to promote the participation of women in decision making at the highest level of the Association.
The International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) Declaration on Women in Local Government adopted in Harare in November 1998 made a passionate appeal to national government to â€œrecognise national association of local governments as important partners in the development, promotion and support of gender equality at the local level, and in the exchange of experiences at the international and national levelsâ€. It is true that women continue to be marginalized in local government despite appeals from central government and womenâ€™s pressure groups. Although several reasons which militate against the participation of women have been discussed in several fora and sound resolutions made, progress has remained thin on the ground. The following impediments have also been cited â€“ lack of equal access to resources to achieve gender equality, the challenge of changing awareness and eliminating dirty attitudes, the increase of violence, outright dissemination, poor support and assistance from political parties, lack of adequate legislative framework and lack of political will.
Establishment of the Women in Local Government Forum
The UCAZ 59th Annual Conference and General Meeting at a meeting held in May 2000 adopted the IULA Worldwide Declaration on Women in Local Government and endorsed the formation of WLGF.
On 17 November 2000 women councillors and senior council administration staff launched WLGF. Through WLGF, women will cease to be observers in the implementation of instruments such as the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action and IULA Worldwide Declaration on Women in Local Government. WLGF will collaborate with the national machinery for gender and women movements to contribute to the social, political and economic empowerment of women in Zimbabwe.
WLGFâ€™s objectives are:
- Â To create a common platform for the articulating for the accumulation of womenâ€™s concerns in the administrative and political sectors of urban councils.
- To create a platform for communicating with women residing in urban councils and represent their interests in the councils
- To link with the national machinery on gender, local and international womenâ€™s organisations in order to share ideas on women and local governance.
- To lobby and advocate for gender sensitive policies and practices in urban councils
- To promote accountability, transparency and good governance by lobbying regular meetings with women in urban councils
- Â To support strategies to increase the number of women in the political and administrative sectors of urban councils
- To create networks with regional and international women in local government
- Â To encourage young women and female students to develop an interest in urban local governance
- Â To participate in strategies to reduce or eradicate violence against women
- Â To promote the reduction of urban poverty through lobbying for controlled agriculture for women
- Â To promote good relations between urban councils and women residents
Membership to WLGF
Although WLGF is made up of women in the political and administrative sectors of urban councils, a structure to facilitate the participation of other women has been put in place. WLGF has set up a Network of Women in Urban Councils (NOWUC). Membership to NOWUC is open to individual women resident in urban areas and women organisations interested in urban local governance.
Terms of Reference
- Â Holding regular meetings of the Forum to review the gender mainstreaming programme in urban councils
- Holding meetings with womenâ€™s organisations and women residents through NUWUC
- Participating in Womenâ€™s rights awareness campaigns in urban councils through public education.
- Holding regular meetings with the national machinery for gender, womenâ€™s organisations, women residents and women Members of Parliament to discuss womenâ€™s problems in urban local authorities.
- Lobbying and advocating for recognition of womenâ€™s roles in urban development.
- Analysing all urban councilsâ€™ policies to see their impact on women and men
- Monitoring the allocation of resources in urban councils to see if there is gender sensitivity
- Analysing the urban councilsâ€™ by-laws to see how they impact on women informal sector operators
- Participating in womenâ€™s social, political and economic empowerment campaigns.
- Playing a role in the prevention of HIV and AIDS
- Advocating for the prevention of violence against women in urban areas
ïƒ˜ Participating in the promotion and implementation of all womenâ€™s empowerment laws
ïƒ˜ Promoting the participation of and support for women candidates in urban council elections
ïƒ˜ Participating in national, regional and international for a on gender
ïƒ˜ Creating a close link with women in rural district councils
ïƒ˜ Lobbying and advocating for UCAZ gender policy