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International Women’s Day Statement

 International Women’s Day Statement

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) joins women all over the world in celebrating International Women’s Day, under the theme “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”

We cannot think of a more befitting theme as the world is still feeling the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that totally transformed how people across the globe interact and conduct business. For women informal traders in Zimbabwe, the pandemic along with emergency mitigatory measures implemented by government, saw many fall into financial ruin as they dug into the scant takings to feed families. Many of them who relied upon cross border trading lost clientele owing to the prolonged border closures, with some customers defaulting on payments entirely.
As much as 67 percent of the labour force in the informal economy is women, yet they are at the bottom of the pyramid when it comes to earning power.Working in the informal economy  leaves women often without any protection of labour laws, social benefits such as pension, health insurance or paid sick leave. They routinely work for lower wages and in unsafe conditions, including risk of sexual harassment. The lack of social protections has long-term impact on women. Fewer women receive pensions  and as a result, more elderly women are now living in poverty
In embracing technology, we at VISET through the Informal Economy Women’s Hub(INEWOH), an entity that looks to capacitate women and tackle the operational and social challenges they face, is rolling out training programmes to build resilience such as value addition initiatives by way of technology through use of solar driers, climate smart agriculture and waste recycling. We believe these steps can help bridge the gender gap , by addressing challenges such as Unpaid Care and Domestic Work (UCDW), low educational levels, lack of social security and general absence of decent work. The latter is the main reason why we at VISET and the  Women’s Hub will continue to be a part of the Formalisation Strategy led by government.
As we reflect and celebrate this day that falls in the Women’s month, we call upon the government of Zimbabwe to :

Invest in construction,  repairing and modernising of informal market spaces.

Policy review; replace old colonial by-laws with modern and relevant by laws that speak to contemporary realities.

Ensure safety and security of tenure in vending spaces, dealing decisively with space

Provide adequate social security mechanisms for women in the informal economy.

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