Theme: Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.
CCJPZ recognises the significant progress made by women towards active participation in the Political, Social, Economic and Cultural domain. Special mention goes to our female justice and peace animators, who continue to promote justice and peace throughout the country and sometimes under very challenging circumstances, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic era. The nation has made positive strides in prioritising gender sensitivity and creating a conducive environment to include women in different public life, in response to the demands of the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe. (cf. sections 80 and 124.b). This was enacted so as to enhance and increase women participation in public offices and other decision making fora. However, despite the fact that women hold good positions in different domains, they still remain marginalised and oppressed due to different cultural beliefs which excludes them from full participation in areas where their decisions would matter most.
The UN Secretary General’s report on the 6th of March 2020, noted that women are still underrepresented in public life and decision making. He emphasized that, “Women are still very frequently denied a voice, their opinions are ignored and their experience discounted.” (www.un.org›sg›2020-03-06). Pope Francis has challenged the Church to think about a different and a better approach in response the COVID-19 pandemic era in which He states that, no one is left behind. Being cognisant of the plight of the less privileged and vulnerable members of the society including women and children, the Holy Father invites decision making bodies and people, to be inclusive of all, especially the vulnerable members of the society like women, in their search for solutions in handling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In view of these, CCJPZ calls for a transformed-cultural biases which supress and eliminate women voices from achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world. There is need to take cognisance of the important role played by women, paying particular attention to women living with disabilities, and women living in rural areas as well as women forced into being refugees. Women deserve the opportunity to participate and to contribute in all decision making platforms. This enhances them not only to be known but to influence society as a whole and be what Jesus calls for: to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, (Mt.5)