Gender bench book on cards

The Centre for Applied Legal Research (CALR) working with the United Nations (UN) Women – Zimbabwe is developing a Gender Bench Book (the GBB). This is financed by the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative Fund.

The Spotlight Initiative seeks to eradicate all violence against women and girls in line with goal 5 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 5 concerns the achievement of gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment by 2030.

The GBB will contain guidelines and tools to capacitate the gender-responsiveness gender-sensitivity of judicial officers in discharging their duties with the express aim of promoting women’s access to justice in Zimbabwe.

The GBB will be grounded in several international and regional instruments which Zimbabwe is a signatory to such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (AWP)

While the Zimbabwean legal framework houses its progressive laws which seek to eradicate violence against women and girls, it has been realised that judicial officers do not fully appreciate or fully observe the international, regional and constitutional frameworks on gender equality, women’s rights and prevention of gender-based violence.

The GBB will help judicial officers interpret the international and regional instruments as well as the Zimbabwean laws that have a bearing on the protection and safeguarding of women’s and girls’ rights. This will be primarily facilitated by the GBB’s advancement of gender justice in providing a comprehensive literature review.

It is anticipated the GBB will make great strides in enhancing Zimbabwe’s judicial system and ensuring the better safeguarding of the rights’ of women and girls.