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ECONOMIC Justice for Women’s Project (EJWP) has bemoaned the government’s abrupt economic policy shifts, saying it negatively impacts consistent tracking of the empowerment impact of such blueprints on women in Zimbabwe.

The findings contained in the organisation’s paper titled,” Post-Independence Zimbabwe Finance and Economic Policy Evolution: Impact on Women”  published on Women’s Day observes that Zimbabwe has had a legacy of enacting policies which did not have clear cut gender sensitive monitoring and evaluation procedures.

The paper says that the Medium Term Plan was the first economic blueprint to have a detailed Monitoring and Evaluation (M and E) plan, scheduled to be conducted at three levels that include policy, operational and stakeholder.

“Unfortunately, the lifespan of the MTP was abruptly cut short in 2013. This suggests that the government “learnt nothing and forgot nothing” in terms of women inclusion in economic governance since no proper evaluation of the plan was undertaken to enable policy makers to draw some lessons which could inform future policies,” the paper said.

The paper blames such weaknesses as chief among the causes which have led successive economic policies to relegate women inclusion and empowerment in economic governance to the periphery.

The in-depth document notes that while the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme (STERP) which succeeded MTP acknowledged that the previous policy pronouncements demonstrated serious deficiency in the implementation of agreed policy measures and also suggested that M&E is of paramount importance, the issue of M&E was just highlighted in passing in the policy without clear strategies on how it would be carried out.

In addition, the paper said, ZIMASSET which was launched after the MTP just highlighted the issue of M and E in passing, thus watering down its importance in the successfulness of the policy.

“As such, poor and lack of proper M and E entails knowledge gaps from the previous policies which may hamper policy success since no lessons would have been learnt from preceding policies. Therefore, findings have shown that the challenges affecting women are very diverse and complex,” the paper observed.

The paper has called on the government to invest in research and collection of statistical sex disaggregated data to identify gaps in women’s involvement in key economic sectors such as mining and agriculture.

“This will help in coming up with sound and responsive policies according to demand,” the paper added.

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