Billian Matambo 23 May 2020
Women remain a vital cog in the development of social and economic order. The emergence of Covid-19 a world pandemic has ravaged communities and societies where women constitute the majority of the population.As we discuss the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on the livelihoods of women it is also important that we reflect the historical background of this problem which started long back when women were treated as objects and societies were controlled by the macho man mentality. Women had no much say over economic and political activities.
This is perpetuating itself in mining communities where all activities having been suppressed put women on the receiving end of the process.In most mining communities like what Ms Mildred Muzanechita of ZiCet shared during the WhatsApp virtual dialogue hosted by ZIDAWU on 20May 2020 , she said women unlike men can not sneak at night to do illegal mining. They cannot also match their male counterparts to sell their wares at night. If ever they chose to do that they suffer harassment in the form of sexual assaults. This therefore calls for civic groups to continue fighting for the rights of communities including women in mining during this lockdown era. Women need contraceptives while health information should be easily accessible.Access to markets continue to be denied. This is adding to women’s problems ranging from unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases , stress and depression.
Mining claims continue to demand limited presence of manpower. Most women businesses remain highly informal and sales of wares remain depleted. The myths around gold mining continue to affect women badly and some men are using these myths as weapons to discriminate women from mining especially gold. Ms Nobuhle Mabhikwa from the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association encouraged women to venture into other income generating projects since solely dependence on mining alone will not work during this era. What is neccessary is to encouraged women to move with the times, making them appreciate the importance of diversifying.
On the other hand concrete programmes and plans should be hatched between civic society , communities and government so that solutions are drawn on how women can be liberated from the lockdown particulary in areas such as Chiadzwa Penhalonga and Odzi.
We believe that a problem shared is a problem solved.