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Gender Perspective with Linda WekwaMasarira: Feminization of poverty amidst the Corona virus pandemic

12 Apr 2020 at 10:56hrs | Views
The burden of poverty has a heavier weight on a woman, yet very little commitment has been shown by the government to deal with poverty reduction and the rampant corruption in this country. Most women are disadvantaged because issues such as land, education, healthcare, participation in decision making and equal opportunities socially, economically and politically have not been addressed. Failure to address these issues has made it difficult for women to sustain their livelihoods. Women are still marginalized and it is a cause for concern as we endeavour to ensure sustainable quality human development for every Zimbabwean.

Considering that about 60% of informal traders are women, the lockdown will have adverse effects on women's livelihoods and sustainability during and after the lockdown. It is imperative for the Ministry of Women Affairs, small enterprises and community development to consider coming up with a package to boost all women in Zimbabwe after the lockdown. Savings have already been depleted, there is no economic activity going on and life has to continue after lock down.

To be sure, government has failed to take into consideration women's needs, roles and responsibilities during policy making and as such women remain disproportionately affected and impoverished. The Poverty Assessment  Study Survey (PASS) of 2003 stated that the incidence of poverty is higher in female-headed households than male-headed households. The economic recession in Zimbabwe since 1997  left a lot of women in helpless and hopeless situations further entrenching women's poverty as women resorted to survival strategies to take care of their families. In 2008, women were forced to go into cross border trading and those who could get multi paying jobs were working around the clock to ensure that their families had food on the table. Worse still some resorted to illegal activities on the black market and the completely hopeless ones ended up on the streets selling their bodies. The infamous Zuva Judgement of 2015 was the final blow to the very few women that were still employed as thousands had their contracts of employment terminated on three months notice. Feminization of poverty is real in Zimbabwe and poverty wears the face of a woman and it is up to all Zimbabwean women to rise up and demand their  Socio-economic rights so that they can actively contribute to the economic activities in Zimbabwe.

During the second Chimurenga war, young girls left their families to go and fight for liberation, land, economic, political and social freedoms. Yet, 38 years after independence they remain largely marginalized without Socioeconomic rights, land and still suffer from patriarchal dominance. The major participators in all political parties are women and they determine the internal electoral results yet they are still treated as door mats in political parties. Women thereby remain perpetual victims and it is time we balance the matrix and ensure that all women have equal access to economic and political opportunities.
 
 As LEAD, we are creating a database of women who want to venture into farming and mining because we firmly believe that Zimbabwe's wealth can be unlocked through export of our agro products and minerals.

#TogetherWeCan create opportunities for women to be financially independent. When you empower a woman, you empower a nation.There is nothing for women without women!



Source - Linda Masarira
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