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WALPE Engages Parliament Over Sexual Harassment and Unpaid Care and Domestic Work

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By WALPE

 

 

The Women’s Academy For Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) with support from Oxfam convened two breakfast meetings with parliamentarians and presented a model Sexual Harassment Bill to the portfolio committees on Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development and the committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in Harare, on 18 October 2021.

The committee members shared lived experiences of sexual harassment that occurs in their families, communities, political parties and various spheres of influence. WALPE emphasized the need for a stand-alone sexual harassment bill which recognises abuses that occur in the private, public, formal and informal spaces.

 

The model sexual harassment bill was submitted to Parliament through the committees and the MPs committed among other things to do the following:

 

 Move motions in Parliament pushing for a gender responsive sexual harassment bill.
 Increase knowledge on sexual harassment in various public and private spheres such as the family, community, schools and political parties etc.
 Capacitate traditional and religious leaders on the effects of sexual harassment and reporting structures.

 

On the second day; WALPE converged with the committees Local Government, Rural and Urban Development and, Women Affairs, Gender, Community and Enterprise Development to present and discuss its model policy on Unpaid Care and Domestic Work (UCDW).

 

The organisation also presented its gendered social services budget proposal that prioritises health, education, water and sanitation, women empowerment, and energy which will feed into the ongoing national budget consultations accounting for 42% of the total expenditure projected for 2022 by the treasury. This budget proposal was submitted to Parliament and Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for consideration.

 

It was agreed during the meeting that addressing critical social services would reduce the disproportionate burden of UCDW on women and girls and some of the key action plans were:

 

 

 

 

 Parliamentarians would attend the national budget seminar and also move motions in Parliament for a gender responsive national budget that prioritises social services and reducing burden of UCDW on women.
 Raising awareness in communities about the ongoing national budget consultative processes and encourage people to actively participate in outreach meetings by parliament.
 Tracking the budget once allocations are made to ensure that they benefit women and girls.
 Advocating for innovative solutions to reducing unpaid care and domestic work like use of solar energy and mechanisation of the agriculture sector.

 

Robert Tapfumaneyi