opinionBy Ruth Butaumocho
With only a few weeks to go before the year comes to an end, different societies and communities across Zimbabwe and elsewhere have started taking stock of the achievements they made during the course of the year.
Within the same framework, they are also assessing the challenges they came across, hurdles they could not overcome and pitfalls that came their way while trying to make progress.
In the area of gender, a lot of achievements and success stories were recorded where both men and women were put on the map not only in Zimbabwe but across the region.
The year started on a good note when the Government launched a number of development projects that were aimed at improving the livelihood of women.
The Government took a brave step and launched the Women's Charter that is aimed at empowering women through their involvement in income-generating projects.
During the Women's Charter launch Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe spoke about several projects that would enable women to acquire working capital from financial institutions. She also challenged policy makers to recognise the role of women in economic development and move away from the patriarchal habit of looking at them as mere housewives.
She also urged women to take advantage of the constitution making process to aggressively advocate appropriate policies regarding their access to land and other economic resources.
It was also during this year that for once women put aside their political differences and participated in the Copac draft constitution across the year.
During the same time, that women were putting their thoughts on paper for the draft constitution, Africa witnessed a landmark victory when South African politician and a revolutionary cadre Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was elected the first female chairperson of the African Union. She successfully challenged the incumbent Jean Ping of Gabon, who had been holding the post since 2008.
Her curriculum vitae clearly showed that she was a competitive, decisive, and visionary leader, who had contributed positively to the development of South Africa from her early days with the ANC, right through to the different ministries she headed.
Her appointment to the African Union was an endorsement of her unwavering, dedication, commitment and ability to diligently execute her work.
It was also heartening to note that for the first time, Zimbabwe realized that men's achievements also needed to be celebrated and joined other nations in commemorating the International Day of Men in November.
November 19 opened a new chapter in the history of Zimbabwe, when the country commemorated the day, although the actual celebrations would be made at a later date. While many people may not have been aware, it is a day when men highlight forms of discrimination they also come across; celebrate their achievements and contributions to the community, family, marriage and child care.
It was, however, disheartening to note that the commemorations came at a time when the country was battling with the problem of gender based violence.
Despite the existence of laws that criminalise gender based violence at any level, it appears that the vice continues to rear its ugly head across the nation, with three to five cases being reported everyday.
As we enter into the New Year, let's fight for gender equality and equity for the good of the nation.