Gender Commission advocates for women empowerment

Staff Reporter

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MUTOKO – Zimbabwe Gender Commission chairperson Commissioner Margret Mukahanana-
Sangarwe says women’s economic empowerment is key if gender equality is to be relised.
Once women are economically empowered they will be able to participate equally in existing
markets, have access to and control over productive resources, property and other assets as ell as
giving them a voice over what affects them.
Mukahanana-Sangare made these remarks in a speech read on her behalf by Commissioner Peter
Mawonere during the 2022 Provincial Gender Forum held at Nyamakosi Business Centre in Mutoko
last week.
The Provincial Gender Forum was held under the theme; “Gender and Economic Empowerment for
Inclusive Economic Growth.”
The broad objectives of the Gender Forum are to identify current challenges and opportunities for
women’s economic empowerment, interrogate the underlying causes for limited participation of
women in the key economic sectors, analyse the nexus between gender-based violence and
economic empowerment, including the cost of GBV to the economy and to share best practices or
models for women’s economic empowerment.
She highlighted that economic empowerment is about access to and control of resources.
“This means women having access to income, control of income at household level, ownership of
productive resources such as land and other assets, have own savings, have access to credit, and
have specialized skills. As the Zimbabwe Gender Commission we believe that investing in women’s
economic empowerment is smart economics and the right thing to do,” she said.
The Zimbabwe Gender Commission chairperson also commended the Second Republic for putting in
place measures that promote women economic empowerment, which among others include the
establishment of the Women’s Micro-Finance Bank.
She said: “The Commission acknowledges various measures put in place by Government to promote
economic empowerment and these include the adoption of a Financial Inclusion Strategy,
establishment of the Women’s Micro-finance Bank, establishment of the Women’s Development
Fund, establishment of the Community Development Fund and establishment of Women’s Desks in
some financial institutions.
“More so the country’s current economic blueprint, The National Development Strategy (NDS1)
acknowledges that the inclusion of women in all sectors especially in the economic sector is critical
for the attainment of the Country’s Vision 2030.
“Besides all the above policy and administrative measures put in place by government, the
Commission notes with concern that women continue to face hurdles in respect of opportunities to
participate meaningfully in the national economy, including limited access to credit; access to
markets, financial services, infrastructure, access to land and limited opportunities to influence
policy.”

Mukahanana-Sangare castigated gender based violence, saying it accelerates gender disparities and
has a negative effect on women’s participation in building the economy.
“Research shows that the face of poverty remains predominantly female in both urban and rural
areas. Gender biases and patriarchal cultural norms are particularly detrimental to women and
prevent them from realising their full economic potential.
“Furthermore, Gender Based Violence has been noted as a factor that perpetuates gender
disparities and limits women participation in economic sectors. Violence against women and girls
creates “economic costs” which include reduced productivity due to absenteeism, reduced women’s
participation in the labour market and losses related to higher demand for health and judicial
services,” she said.

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