By Shingirai Vambe
Zimbabwe- Government, Civic Society Groups and Non-Governmental Organizations have wrapped up the March women’s month in style, advocating and pushing for the inclusion of women in all country’s sectors of the economy.
Hivos in partnership with the Parliament of Zimbabwe, European Union, Zimbabwe Gender Commission, Women’s Institute for Leadership Development to mention just a few, gathered at a local hotel in Harare, looking on enhancing women empowerment through digital literacy.
Survey has it that only 34 percent of women in Africa are digitally connected and in Zimbabwe, 60 percent of the population is in the rural areas, where 30 percent of the constituency does not have mobile network coverage.
Hivos Southern Africa regional Director, Ms Nana Zulu reiterated on the need in closing the digital gap, in education, health and social setups, following an independent survey conducted showing the how a rural woman and girl largely affected by this gap.
Guest of honor at the event, Minister of Information, Media and broadcasting services, Monica Mutsvangwa said, the Government and second republic has for the past years been working to move, leaving no one and no place behind as far as information, technology and development is concerned.
The theme for this year was: “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”
It was during the breakfast meeting last week when the Postal Telecommunication Regulatory Authority was told of the Community Information Centres not serving their purpose in various districts while the cost of data being prohibitive for women and girl child in rural areas as well as urban centres where the current economic environment sore.
Guest speaker from Media institute of `southern Africa, Chido Lucias, revealed that most CICs had no internet connection, literate employees and adequate equipment to service the centres.
POTRAZ earlier said once established, the CICs will be a responsibility of ZIMPOST.
Hivos conducted its commemorations under the theme, “Realising gender equality through digital technology”
On March 31 2023, the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) held a conference for women in procurement, again at a local hotel in Harare, where the board chairman, Vimbai Nyemba said the Constitution of Zimbabwe decreed a society built on the prescripts of equality and non-discrimination, a nation united in all its diversity.
“It seems women are still lagging behind in terms of participating in development of the country, due to various reasons such as lack of expertise, willpower and discrimination,” Nyemba said.
“As PRAZ we thought it prudent to convene this women’s conference during this time, to discuss and share experiences on the status and involvement of women specifically in the procurement sector.
Crucially over the years, we have identified gaps to achieve women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. These include enhancing implementation of economic and social policies for women’s economic empowerment, enhancing implementation of section 29 (b) of the Public Procurement and disposal of Public Assets (PPDPA) Act which provides for domestic preferences,” Nyemba added.
PRAZ CEO, Clever Ruswa promised that procuring entities shall take into account the extent to which suppliers and manufacturers who are women or entities controlled predominantly by women must participate in such bid, or be subcontracted to supply the bided goods, construction works or services.
“Although globally, women’s representation in procurement and sectors is increasing significantly, though the gap has not narrowed as hoped, we are as yet far from accomplishing our intended goal,” added Ruswa.
The Business Community, PROWEB held its inaugural meeting on the same day, March 31 2023, at Pam Golding offices in Belgravia, Harare, where renowned businesswoman, Divine Ndhlukula, as a guest speaker said, she was happy for being recognised by the government of Zimbabwe, having conferred with the esteemed commendation hero medal in recognition of the valuable contribution to the economy of the republic of Zimbabwe in 2021.
“Closer to home, I have stood on the shoulders of people like sisi Kubi Indi, Prof Hope Sadza, my own mother, Mbuya Mary Pachena Simbi to mention just a few, as these people build institutions at a time when it was inconceivable for woman to do it, and we stand on their shoulders for role modelling us,” said Ndhlukula.
Finally on the 5th of April, the Zimbabwe Association for Microfinance Institutions held the ZAMFI women CEO symposium which was graced by the regulator, The Reserve bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
Most woman are known for doing small businesses in their respective areas, rural and urban area, and the institution was encouraging women who have made it to grab the hand of a struggling woman in their communities and societies.
Zimbabwe Women Microfinance Bank, CEO Mandras Marikanda said there was need for women groups to go down to the grass roots and empower the girl child, women including those perceived to be professionals, who have made it in their lives.
Guest speaker, Chenesai Mukora added her voice on the rising divorce cases and the new marriage Act which most women are not acquainted with and affecting most women who are not economically empowered.
Majority of women don’t own land, they are good at vending, even when they are professional, they still can’t make long term life decisions and they is need for more engagements and empowerments programs which can also help the girl child,” Mukora said.
Bringing women and other marginalized groups into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality. Their lack of inclusion, by contrast, comes with massive costs.