By Daniel Itai, Gokwe, Zimbabwe
Linda Masarira, leader of the LEAD political party, has lashed out at President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, for ignoring the plight of rural women.
This follows yesterday’s International Day of Rural Women commemorations that were being held across the globe.
“Women living in rural areas in Zimbabwe have been subjected to second class treatment since time immemorial. The Zimbabwean government has done so little to help alleviate rural based women’s socioeconomic status quo. The current wave of job losses induced by the COVID-19 pandemic have had a serious adverse effect on elderly women who relied on their working children to provide them with seed and fertilizer.
Rural women in Zimbabwe suffer from poor government policies which do not consider their plight. Gender discrimination is the order of the day in rural Zimbabwe. Rural women in Zimbabwe deserve a comfortable life and it is imperative for the Ministry of Women Affairs to ensure that laws are in place to eliminate stereotyping based on patriarchy and the subordination of women.
Women living in rural areas have been promised for years that they would benefit from the rural electrification programme, which was only limited to growth points. They face a lot of challenges like lack of energy, long distance walks to fetch firewood, poverty, isolation, as well as misinformation, and a lack of access to critical technologies that can improve their work and personal life.
The current government has failed to correct and find solutions to the problems facing the average rural woman. The governing party has failed to address water and sanitation issues in rural areas which has adversely affected the health of women living in rural areas.
Nearly 90 percent of women living in rural areas still fetch water from unprotected sources. They have no access to protected water and travel long distances to get water.
Moreover, it is critical to engage development partners to drill boreholes and assist in building dams in our quest to ensure that people living in rural areas have safe water sources as rural Zimbabwean women are still being treated as second class citizens 40 years after independence. With water and electricity not being adequately provided by government, and poverty levels remaining as high as 90 percent in rural areas, women bear the largest burden of poverty in Zimbabwe,” said Masarira.