THEME: ‘Making the constitution work for women and children: Translating gender sensitive constitutional provisions into a tangible reality.’
The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) is an Association of Lawyers whose mission is not only defending, developing and dialoguing on women’s rights in Zimbabwe, but also representing women lawyers as a constituency, to dialogue on their issues and to defend their causes.
At its formation 21 years ago ZWLA intended to defend the professional interests of women lawyers. With time they realised that there was a growing need for legal aid provision to indigent women so that they were also able to access justice in a bid to ensure a just and equitable society for all. It was also agreed that there was need to address the plights of women in Zimbabwe through advocacy work, lobbying for law reform and defending the rights of Zimbabwean women in general.
It is within the above context that ZWLA in 2014 initiated an annual Women Lawyers Conference which has two main objectives. The first is to dialogue on the issues arising from the legal profession as well as look at progressive ways of improving and developing as legal practitioners in Zimbabwe in the 21st Century. The second is to dialogue on defending women and children’s rights effectively as well as improve the legal trajectory in terms of the laws and the criminal justice system in a bid to ensure that they are gender sensitive. In 2014, over 80 women lawyers participants mainly from Harare, Masvingo, Kwekwe, Bulawayo as well as women lawyers from the diaspora, which included representatives from South Africa and the United Kingdom, attended the first of its kind conference held in Harare which was convened by Zimbabwe Women Lawyers (ZWLA) in partnership with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). The conference theme was ‘Towards Women Peace and Security: Making the Law Profession Work for Women’.
This year ’s theme is, ‘Making the Constitution work for women and children: Translating gender sensitive Constitutional provisions into a tangible reality.’
3 & 4 December, 2015
Holiday Inn, Harare
Zimbabwean women lawyers, especially young lawyers, have expressed concerns over a variety of issues ranging from their inability to penetrate certain spaces within the law profession, the absence of proper mentoring from senior lawyers and the absence of opportunities to develop professionally. ZWLA’s conference seeks to also provide a platform which will bring Zimbabwean lawyers from all over the world to dialogue on issues which affect them with the aim of providing a lasting solution to their concerns.
ZWLA acknowledges the solidarity from male counterparts within the legal fraternity therefore it is in light of this that ZWLA has a programme termed; ‘Friends of ZWLA’ which works with male lawyers who understand the cause we champion and are empathetic towards the plights of women and children. Friends of ZWLA are also invited to participate in the conference.
Tapping into the knowledge of leading experts, various issues inclusive of but not limited to the following will be discussed:
a. Strengthening Constitutional literacy among Women Lawyers
b. Overview of Constitutional Advocacy
c. Realignment of laws to the new Constitution
d. Constitutional Litigation
e. Use of International and Regional Instruments in litigation
f. Knowing the challenges, identifying opportunities and having a personal law career plan.
g. Navigating different legal careers i.e. how to be a judge, academic or politician etc.
Registration Fee - US$30
Women Human Rights Defenders Awards
In addition to the conference, on the 3rd of December, we will also be hosting our annual Women Human Rights Defenders Awards. ZWLA launched the Women Human Rights Defender Awards in 2007 in order to recognize and appreciate the effort made by lawyers towards the promotion and progressive realization of women and children’s human rights. The award initially targeted lawyers who have done significant work in addressing the law and policy gaps that have subordinated women’s status since independence. The Awards also targeted lawyers and other Legal experts who have carried out significant work (be it legal representation, lobbying and advocacy, policy analysis and legal research as well as judicial activism, amongst others, in critical areas that have impacted on women and children’s fundamental rights and freedoms since independence.
The awards have since taken a different turn as they are now considering other non lawyers who are also doing a lot of recognisable work in advancing the rights of women and children. This was as a result of the realisation that there are many people, male and female alike, who are not necessarily members of the legal profession but immensely contribute to the realisation of women and children’s rights who also need to be recognised for their great work.
This year there will be 3 categories of awards and so nominations are being sought for the following categories:
1. Human Rights Defender(Lawyer)
2. Human Rights Defender(Non-Lawyer)
3. Student Human Rights Defenders
For more details, please read attached files or contact:
Doreen Gaura: 0777828201 or
Tariro Tandi: 0772211437 or