Moving Forward at the Young Women First Regional Inter-generational Dialogue!
By Ingrid Kahari
NYANGA, 6 December 2012 - The last day of the inter-generational dialogue was graced by the presence of the Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and GlobalPOWER Women Network Africa Hon. Thokozani Khupe. Other key delegates that attended the final proceedings included Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Hon. Jessie Majome, from Zimbabwe and the UNAIDS Country Representative of Zimbabwe, Ms. Tatiana Shoumilina.
Hon. Jessie Majome addressed the meeting by speaking about the law regarding sexuality and reproductive health. She empashised that young women’s voices and views must be included in decision-making arenas such as in policy making in Parliament so that the law is favourable and sensitive towards women’s issues. She also cautioned young women and the older women to send the right messages in their advocacy so that issues are not exacerbated.
Leading change across generations was the message of Ms. Tatiana Shoumilina of UNAIDS. She encouraged women to have a vision of the intended future and have small steps that will allow that future to be realised. “Dialogue across generations has two dimensions, firstly accepting ourselves as we are with all our weaknesses and strengths and secondly accepting others as they are because dialogue is about acceptance, trust and hearing each other”. She emphasised the need for older women to be open to hearing stories that they relate to remembering that the shared experiences with young women make them stronger.
As the conference Guest of Honour, Hon. Thokozani Khupe gave the key note address. In her engagement with the young women and older women, she affirmed her commitment to addressing issues of women as a leader in Zimbabwe and within the region. She explained the plight of women particularly rural women and the day to day challenges they face to ensure their children have a better life. “A woman is a worker, organiser, manager, advisor and nation builders. It is time to act in decision-making bodies and stop saying women are coming around the corner, let us go in the centre and start influencing and bringing about change”, said Hon. Thokozani Khupe.
The morning proceedings included a Press Conference with a panel of influential women from the region and chaired by SAfAIDS’ Media Advisor Tariro Makanga-Chikumbirike. The panellists were Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and GlobalPOWER Women Network Africa Hon. Thokozani Khupe, Former First Lady of Zambia, Lady Maureen Mwanawasa, Hosi Nwamitwa, Queen of Limpopo, Valoyi traditional Authority Trust from South Africa, UNAIDS Country Representative, Ms. Tatiana Shoumilina, Hon. Jessie Majome, Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, SAfAIDS Regional Executive Director, Ms. Lois Chingandu, Beatrice Savadye and Gwen Chimuti representing Young Women First leaders. Young women shared their concern with governments not prioritising young people and lack of action towards young people’s issues. Women leaders committed to push the issues of young forward to bring about change and young women were encouraged to desire to be in positions of leadership.
The final afternoon session rounded up the discussions of the conference. The regional dialogue has brought insight into a lot of issues affecting young women and older women, with some similarities in experiences shaping the young women of today and those that shaped the older women. The young women presented the Regional Communiqué, the main action plan that will guy steps to move forward. It is clear that the stage has been set and it is now up to all the women to act!