Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Let our voices be heard: International Human Rights Day-FSN joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Day of Human Rights 2013.

Female Students Network joins the rest of the world in celebrating the International Human Rights Day. Human Rights Day promotes awareness of human rights issues around the world and it helps to buttress the point that everybody has the right to have their voice heard and to have a role in making the decisions that shape their lives and their communities.

FSN will continue to educate and share with female students about their rights, which include the right to participate fully in the important decisions and policies affecting their lives. That means not only the democratic processes, but also the key economic decisions that can have such a huge impact on individuals, families, and even entire groups and nations.

For female students, the right to accommodation is very important because some of the end up engaging in immoral activities just to get money for proper and decent accommodation. The Network therefore urges the government to bring back grant so that students can be able to fend for themselves just like they did when the government was still offering the grants.

This will not only benefit the students but the nation as a whole because what good will it bring to have an HIV infested youth  who get involved in sexual relationships for food and accommodation, something that can  be prevented by the return of students grants. By this the Network is not condoning the immoral behaviour by female students but is trying to find a solution to the problem.

Female students also have a right health but the unhygienic ways in which they dispose sanitary ware in most tertiary institutions leaves a lot to be desires. There is need therefore for the relevant Ministries such as the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development as well as the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science Technology Development to put measures of hygienic sanitary disposal such as incinerators and disinfectant soaps in toilets.

There is also need to intensify efforts of protecting female students from sexual harassment because most of them are not aware of the Sexual Harassment Policy and the few that know about it are ignorant of its contents.

On this day, the Network would also like to take the opportunity to salutes all those who have suffered so much seeking what is rightfully theirs.

The voices of too many women and girls, in particular, continue to be stifled through discrimination, threats and violence and this is holding back progress for women and for all members of society.

FSN believes that women’s participation is fundamental for sustainable development, peace and democracy and as we commemorate the international human rights day, we should remove the barriers to women’s full and equal participation in the economy, in politics and in all aspects of public life.


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

It’s time to act to stop Gender Based Violence

Female students Network joins the rest of the world in commemorating 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. The 16 days, starting form 25 November to 10 December is way of raising awareness of the scourge that has taken many live throughout the years.

It is also a time to make duty bearers, especially the police to take seriously issues of gender based violence. Of late, female students have complained that they are not being taken seriously when they report cases of abuse to the police.

It is very important to note that Gender Based Violence does not only affect couples in a marriage setting but those who are not yet married too. For female students, a lecturer asking for sexual favours for a pass constitutes gender abused violence.
Gender based violence is still a challenge in the country and has impacted negatively on our society, with consequence such as injuries, unintended pregnancies and HIV/AIDS.

According to reports by Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey(ZDHS) 1 in 4 women had experienced sexual violence and in 9 out of 10 of the cases the perpetrator is the woman’s current or former husband, partner or boyfriend; and 1 in 3 women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence since the age 15.

Gender based violence had impacted negatively on the Zimbabwean society, with consequences such as injuries, unintended pregnancies and HIV/AIDS.

As FSN, we encourage everyone to continue working together to raise awareness that violence against women and girls is unacceptable. Gender based violence is a human rights violation that calls for an integrated and multi-sectorial approach if we are to achieve meaningful results

There is need for more campaigns that involve men as they are also victims of gender based violence in some cases and largely the perpetrators of GBV.

Zimbabwe is to be commended for setting the policy framework for gender based violence prevention and response which includes the Domestic Violence Act although there is still need to deal decisively with this vicious cycle of violence, as it is destroying families and causing untold suffering to the victims. The human rights abuses against women not only inflict great harm and suffering on individuals but they affect the entire society.

FSN therefore encourages everyone; regardless of gender to work together to stop gender based violence as it has caused untold suffering in the Zimbabwean community. The Network also encourages everyone to condemn gender based violence and take action against it not only during the 16 days but the whole year because gender based violence affects women, men and children on a daily basis.