from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE is in danger of missing its deadline of achieving gender equality by 2030, as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
This is according to the European Union (EU) top envoy in the Southern African country as it joined the world in commemorating International Women’s Day.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a dim light on the progress made in achieving gender equality by 2030 in Zimbabwe as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” Timo Olkkonen, the EU ambassador said.
He said a little over a year since the pandemic struck, a myriad of studies and surveys had reported an exacerbation of gender inequalities as women and girls continue to bear the brunt of unpaid labour.
They are also disproportionately at risk of violence compared to their male counterparts.
“The pandemic is indeed not only a health crisis but also a social one,” Olkkonen said.
The envoy noted the national lockdowns have resulted in the so-called shadow pandemic, amid a rise in violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence.
Teenage pregnancies are reportedly on the rise as a result of the lockdowns.
The EU introduced the Spotlight Initiative in 2019 to eliminate violence against women and girls.
EU committed US$21 million for the first phase of the four-year programme.
Zimbabwe has recorded 36 260 COVID-19 cases, including 1 485 deaths as of this past weekend.
– CAJ News