Gibson Nyikadzino-Herald Correspondent
President Mnangagwa last Saturday urged society to pause and reflect about the important role women played in the independence of Zimbabwe and their contributions in shaping the nation’s contemporary society.
His call comes at a time when many societies are using patriarchal influences to unequally dominate all levels of society without considering the potential of women to do the same.
Addressing party delegates at the 7th National Conference of the Zanu PF’s Women’s League, the President said “the long held traditions of unflinching loyalty reliability, dependability, unity and consistency” by the Women’s League makes them the “backbone of the on-going modernisation, industrialisation and growth of our economy”.
President Mnangagwa notes that it is important to appreciate, more than anyone, the role women have played politically, socio-culturally and economically to the growth of Zimbabwe’s economy through industrialisation, digitisation and modernisation of economic value chains for food sufficiency.
Women, he added, must be included in all economic spheres and participate in all technological developments that are being offered by the use of modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) so that they enhance their creative capacity.
“In view of the high technological era and the associated digital economy which is fast unfolding, you as the Women’s League must lobby for the access to the internet and ICTs in general, by women, especially those in rural areas.
“Women must not be left behind in the ongoing digital revolution. The women of Zimbabwe must be the key architects and builders of their own destiny and indeed builders of our beautiful country; brick by brick and stone upon stone,” said the President.
Statistically, the 2020/2021 agricultural season had the highest production yield in 20 years, to which women’s contributions were the highest, resulting in a decline in the number of food insecure people. As of last year, women constituted at least 70 percent of small-scale farmers in the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU).
In her closing speech, Cde Monica Mutsvangwa, who retained her position as the Secretary for Administration, said the Women’s League fully subscribes to the “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo” philosophy in national development.
She emphasised the importance that women today celebrate their gender freedoms which did not come as “gifts of a generous patriarchal social order”.
“We fully subscribe to your call that ‘Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo’ in a national development drive that will embrace all citizenry while ensuring that no one is left behind.
“The gender parity we seek today in the participation of national political affairs is logical outgrowth of full women participation in the People’s War. We take full pride in our clamour for gender parity as a product of our shared sacrifice with our men folk in the fight for freedom, democracy and independence.
“We celebrate our gender freedoms are not gifts of a generous patriarchal social order. We unchained ourselves from feudalist custom and tradition. We stand ready to seize the bold future which your Second Republic has ushered in,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.
Politics and public policy analysts yesterday told The Herald that the emancipation and economic empowerment initiatives of women by Zanu PF is a spring to their participation in political and economic processes in the country.
Political analyst Mr Lazarus Sauti said for many years women were symbolically annihilated in local politics and that affected their participation in the socio-economic processes in the country.
“This also reduced them to weak and second-class citizens. It is against this backdrop that the emancipation and economic empowerment initiatives of women by Zanu PF is a spring to their participation in political and economic processes in the country.
“Women are key players in the reconstruction of the economy. Their involvement in economic activities is a tonic to development. Their emancipation and economic empowerment initiative by Zanu PF under the Second Republic thus is pointing to the reconstruction of the economy with vibrancy,” said Mr Sauti.
Mr Sauti however said for Zimbabwe’s economy to succeed, women needed more “support mechanisms, training and long-term support to fully play an effective role in promoting durable peace and sustainable development in the country”.
Another public policy analyst Ms Michelle Chifamba said policies enunciated by the Second Republic in the NDS 1 should be used to promote the rights of women and girls to ensure they are not left behind as the country progresses.
She said Government should tap into innovative solutions by women and create favourable policies that sustain women’s entrepreneurial efforts through giving them land, accessible loans and credit lines.
“Women, particularly in rural areas, are unsung heroines and should be celebrated because they are coming up with innovative solutions to combat climate and ensure food security.
“Government should tap into their innovative solutions and celebrate their efforts so that as a nation we can develop you ways of ensuring food security through the mind of a rural woman,” said Ms Chifamba.