International Women’s Day Commemorations

Today is International Women’s Day and we at Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) join the progressive world in commemorating the day whose theme is “Gender equality today for a sustainable future” .

The theme aims to demonstrate the potential and achievements of women in action and resilience to climate change, as well as for the Zimbabwean woman the myriad of challenges they face in their day to day existence. A typical day for the woman in Zimbabwe and indeed much of the developing world begins in the early hours of the day with having to ensure there are adequate stocks of water supply, preparation of food and readying the entire family for the day ahead before they then embark on their trading routine, beginning usually with a trip to wholesale or farmers markets, then going on to their market stalls. There they face al manner of challenges ranging from victimisation by male colleagues to ‘sextortion’ from either space barons, local authority officials or law enforcement officers. Their ordeal does not end there, as they are also confronted with harassment and at times violence in homes owing to partners who may feel threatened by their economic capacity.

Women in rural areas face almost similar challenges, however these are most prone to climate change effects as the changing weather patterns have threatened their ordinary way of life and they have had to try adopting mitigating strategies such as farming of drought resistant crop varieties. To this end VISET has been involved in areas such as Goromonzi, Gokwe South and Binga North in partnership with AGRITEX to come up with knowledge based interventions. Rural women are also compounded with land title challenges owing to the patriarchal nature of our society where in instances of a spouse passing on, title is usually transferred to the eldest male son.

These and more challenges are what have led to VISET forming the Informal Economy Women’s Hub (INEWOH) in order to provide a solidarity platform for women in the informal economy and to bring together stakeholders from various spheres to try and formulate solutions to women’s problem not only in the sector but society at large. INEWOH is just but the first step on the road to trying to eliminate the challenges facing women and we continue to be engaged with actors across society and in authority to ensure that we break with antiquated patriarchal mind-sets on the road to achieving gender equality.

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