Community Development Health

Gender justice attainable through women inclusion: Men’s Forum

Mr. Jonathan Chindewere

By Lovemore Chazingwa

Women and girls’ inclusion in the socio-economic development trajectory is among some of the most effective interventions to attain gender justice in society, a leading voice has said.

Padare/Enkhundleni/Men’s Forum on Gender programs officer, Mr. Jonathana Chindewere made the remarks at First Lady Dr. Auxillia Mnangagwa’s Gota/Nhanga Male Engagement Session at Rimuka Stadium recently.

“We need, as men, to come together and also create opportunities for women and girls. The use of dialogue as a means of resolving conflict enhances women’s emancipation and ensures a gender-just society in the country,” said Mr. Chindewere.

Conflicts, which are a natural phenomenon should be resolved without the use of violence, reasons Chindewere.

“We want to engage men and boys so that they employ non-violent ways of resolving conflict.” Adding: “There is a need to create more spaces for the fairer gender in order to move forward.”

The program by the First Lady is an intervention bent on weeding out drug and substance abuse, early child marriages, and gender-based violence (GBV), and propagating a firmly cultured society founded on our cultural norms and values.

The non-governmental organization is playing its part in dovetailing programs that are geared to feed into cultivating an upward society.

Chindewere bemoans the lack of cooperation from society on some of the issues, making it difficult to resolve and nip out social vice.

“The police, ZRP, is trying its best to resolve matters to do with GBV. The major obstacle is that some of the issues are not brought to their attention. Sadly, men who suffer GBV are shy to come out and report for fear of embarrassment, keeping to their shells. That also further perpetuates GBV.

“We encourage victims to come forward and report GBV so that it can be dealt with. All cases that we, as Padare/Enkhundleni/Men’s Forum on Gender, have brought to the attention of the police have been successfully dealt with. Shelving cases behind closed doors or turning a blind eye to such situations renders society indifferent to the plight of victims.”

Of late, society, NGOs, corporates, and the Government are seized with thwarting the scourge of drug abuse as, guka (mutoriro), has become a vexing menace. The legacy monsters of GBV and early child marriages are not coming to end. Cases reported, according to ZRP and pressure groups, show a worrisome upward trend, especially during the Covid-19-induced lockdowns.

The government has mooted the idea of turning idle public bars into drug and substance abuse rehabilitation centers.  Other progressive minds are of the opinion that by creating productive spaces for society, the younger generation, can win the war.

Chindewere said they wished to be at all First Lady’s engagements, only managing to be at her Chitungwiza, Umguza, and Kadoma gatherings to bolster their campaign.

Padare is implementing male involvement, challenging negative cultural practices and toxic masculinities that fuel GBV. The organisation is part of the Zimbabwe Partnership for Accelerated Aids Control (ZimPAAC), a consortium that is working towards HIV intervention.

Their focus is also on social norms that also deter men from risky behaviour which makes them seek health interventions. The gender-centred institution is implementing these in Matebeleland North and Harare provinces.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende