Empowering women should be a continuous process


By Fadzai Lydia Midzi-Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association

Zimbabwean women play a critical role in development and the story of Mutoko women who have managed to organise themselves into “Women Forums” speaks for itself.

Motivated by the strong will of providing for their families and making a difference in their community, the women are celebrating six years of supporting each other, doing business together and advocating and lobbying for the realisation of their rights. Working in solidarity, they have managed to come up with small livelihood projects in poultry production, goat rearing, bakery and farming.

“My aim is to take care of my family, make sure my children’s needs are realised,” remarked one of the women.

Women are making efforts to improve their lives and economically empower themselves. For me l would say empowering women is empowering the nation. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5) emphasizes the issue of Gender Equality. Ending all discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, it is crucial for a sustainable future. Studies have shown that empowering women and girls helps in economic growth and development. Efforts are being made by many organisations such as the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), Action Aid in Zimbabwe to promote women voices and women rights. However, SDG 5 is just not about women alone, but it is everyone’s business.

Empowering all women and girls through ending discrimination in all its forms

Empowering women through access to information

Access to information is a fundamental right that is enshrined in the universal declaration of rights. Section 62 of the Zimbabwean Constitution has also included access to information as a basic right. This is critical for the participation of women in decision making and all matters that affect their lives. Information should be accessible, readily available for every citizen. There is a challenge when important information is only found online, already this is a discriminatory because there are some women who do not have access to online documents. In most cases, this hinders their participation in development matters. Some of them do not own gadgets that allow them to access information while some documents are too technical such that women with low literacy levels cannot easily understand.

 Access to information, a key empowerment tool

To borrow from a Bible verse from the book of Hosea 4:6 which reads, my people perish because of lack of knowledge. This simply shows that knowledge is critical. From the interviews undertaken by ZELA on the reasons that could be hindering women participation in development projects, women from Mutoko highlighted that they are failing to participate in decision making processes because of lack of information concerning meetings, development projects. In some of those meetings where they get to participate their engagement is sometimes limited due to inadequate knowledge. For SDG 5 to become a reality, access to information remains of paramount importance in as far as taking stock of the achievements is concerned.

 Access to information:

  • empowers women to participate in decision making and this is not limited to, education, land ownership, and health care;
  • enables women to understand their rights and whenever these are infringed to know whom to approach;
  • an effective tool that can be used to hold duty bearers accountable;

To achieve women empowerment and SDG 5 by 2030 someone must be held accountable.

 Happy international women’s day to all the strong women, may we be them, may we raise them and know them.

 #Each for Equal

#An empowered world is an enabled world.

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