Creating a conducive legal and policy environment for women in mining in Zimbabwe

Creating a conducive legal and policy environment for women in mining in Zimbabwe

The site of women miners conducting illegal mining activities is a cause for concern. They conduct mining activities but at the back of their minds is fear of arrest, confiscation of the minerals and unsafe conditions. To its credit, mining can result in significant increase in household income. It is therefore important that the mining activities be conducted in a conducive atmosphere. Zimbabwe has many laws on mining and the environment. These include the Base Minerals Export Control Act; Precious Stones Trade Act, Gold Trade and Copper Act, the Mines and Minerals Act among many others. There are also many legal and policy requirements for one to be able to conduct mining activities legally. Women miners are lost in the maze of these laws and policies. Most of the mining legislation has not kept up to date with the current environment and gender equity and equality. Women‟s economic empowerment is key to the development of Zimbabwe. The government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development is striving to improve the lives of women through economic empowerment. Creating a conducive mining legal environment for women in Zimbabwe will go a long way in ensuring that the women miners are able to lead better lives. It will also contribute to the economic growth of Zimbabwe.

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Welcome to WLSA Zimbabwe

Formed in 1989, Women and Law in Southern African Research and Education Trust (WLSA) Zimbabwe is a local Chapter of a sub-regional network- member countries are Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe- seeking to contribute to sustained well-being of women and girl children in Southern Africa through action-oriented research in the socio-legal field and advocating  women’s rights.

By action oriented research we mean research which is intended to inform and influence action being taken to improve the socio-legal situation of women and girl children. WLSA work incorporates action into research by questioning and challenging the law, instigating campaigns for changes in law and in policies, educating women about their rights, providing legal advice and gender sensitizing communities and leadership during the course of the research.


1.1.   Vision of WLSA Zimbabwe

A society where justice is equitably accessed claimed and enjoyed by women and girls in all spheres of life.

1.2.              Mission of WLSA

WLSA Zimbabwe is to organize; coordinate and support evidence based interventions that promote and protect women and girl’s rights through legal and policy reform and changes to discriminatory socio-cultural practices.

1.3   WLSA Goal

WLSA goal is to contribute to gender equality and fulfillment of women and girls rights. 


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Challenges faced by women in unregistered customary law unions

Tino Guru (not real name) paid lobola for Chipo Bira (not real name) in December 2011.  They did not take the further step of having the marriage officially registered and getting a marriage certificate. Chipo became for all intents and purposes wife to Tino from the day that lobola was paid. She was and still is expected to play her role as a wife. She is recognised by the Guru family as Tino’s wife. On the other hand Tino became in the eyes of the Bira family, a son-in-law. Society at large recognises the two as husband and wife. Chipo became, “mai Guru”. The law however has a different take. Theirs is not a valid “marriage” but a union simply because it is not registered. This is ironic considering the fact that the same legal expectations from a valid marriage- love, affection, companionship, conjugal rights are also expected in the union.

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Securing women’s land and property rights




“Gender inequalities in land rights are pervasive. Not only do women have less access to land than men. They are often also restricted to so-called secondary land rights, meaning that they hold these rights through male family members. Women thus risk losing entitlements in case of divorce, widowhood or their husband’s migration. Evidence also shows that women’s land parcels are generally of smaller size and lower quality than men’s.”

In many parts of the world, women’s rights to land and property are systematically denied. Laws give women fewer or less secure rights than men, and discriminatory attitudes and practices undermine them. This leaves many women almost entirely dependent on the men in their lives for basic economic survival and vulnerable to violence, poverty, and food insecurity, particularly if widowed, divorced, single, or in marriages not formally recognized.

As land resources are increasingly contested, these problems have worsened, particularly for rural women.Large-scale land acquisitions remove women farmers.Land degradation from desertification and climate change reduces the availability of fertile land for farming. Biofuel production increases competition for marginal lands (i.e. lands where soil conditions are less fertile or where land is generally less productive), which are often allocated to women farmers.5 Through all of this, women are often excluded from land negotiations because they lack official land titles.


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