Women are capable, qualified

HARARE - Today, March 8 marks International Women’s Day, a time to celebrate the achievements of women around the world, identify the challenges ahead, and call for further change and progress.

This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.

As Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world for International Women’s Day Commemorations the Daily News caught up with some women to find out what it is that they wish for.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) national director Rindai Chipfunde Vava said when you look at the demographic distribution of our population women constitute about 52 percent but that is not reflected in their participation in the instrumental roles of our society.

“My wish for women in Zimbabwe as we commemorate the International Women’s Day is that they fully utilise their rights to full participation in all institutions and agencies of government as stipulated in articles 17 and 18 of the Constitution.

“Furthermore we need to see more women participating in elections as candidates and heavily involved in the running of critical commissions in future. My dream is to see 50-50 percent representation of women and men in key public and private institutions.”

National Aids Council board vice chair Beatrice Tonhodzayi would like to see a Zimbabwe where women are free to be whom and what they want to become.

“Where they do not have to be ridiculed or murdered for expressing their will.

“I would like to see spaces that are truly embracing women not being tokenistic. If we say women can be business or political leaders; let us see them occupying the spaces. We are tired of rhetoric. It is time for implementation. After all; women are capable and qualified.”

Tonhodzayi said she is sad that too many women are dying. “Relationships should not be dangerous spaces for women but they are. Marriages that should be a haven are becoming jails. That has to stop and girls and women should thrive.

“Enough of child brides! Children cannot be married off and we speak of women’s rights. Women cannot be beaten and killed and we speak of emancipation.

“People need to understand that when girls and women are developed and given support, the whole country will be happy and developed. However, what is

really disturbing is how women are also now attacking each other.

“Women are contributing to each other’s downfall. My appeal to women this year is that it is time we uplift each other; we mentor each other; we love each other and support each other.”

She also urged women to support businesses run by women, churches run by women and salons run by women.

“Why fight another woman over men? Why hit another woman? Why destroy another woman’s reputation as was the case with the model (HIV story). It is time women practiced self-love and love for other women. Divided we fall. United we are invincible.”

Producer Patience Gamu Tawenga said her wish “for myself and other Zimbabwean women particularly artists is to have financial freedom.

“I hope we strive to build our own empires in the arts industry and uplift other women artists as we go. I hope we develop a spirit of true sisterhood and the confidence in ourselves that if another woman artist’s light shines it does not diminish our own. We can all succeed together.

“It is a proven fact that ‘Economic dependence is at the core of women’s vulnerability’ as said by Awa Marie Coll Seck, Senegalese Health minister. So financial freedom for women and entrepreneurship in the arts is top of my list.”

Chipawo administration manager Chipo Basopo said women need to desist from being in the news for the wrong reasons.

“Instead they have to be the face of Zimbabwe — not for negative things but positive things. It is time we get good stories covered in the media and not scandals that will not cultivate a good image and motivate young women who are growing up to study hard. We need women studying and excelling in law, arts and business among other prestigious qualifications.”

Basopo said as women, they celebrate the new law to protect the girl child from early marriages. “This is a good start and now we know that our government is doing positive things for women.”

Arts activist Makomborero Theresa Muchemwa said her wish for Zimbabwean women is “that we find the urgency, endurance and strength to be the change we want to be and see.”

Artist Loveness Wesa could only say: “I wish the Zimbabwean women love, peace and oneness.

Misa-Zimbabwe administrator Annie Musemburi Musodza said her wish is to have a stable economy that allows women to have jobs and “be able to look after their children’s needs (education, health) so as to have socially responsible offsprings that will become better citizens of the world.”

Artist Nancy Mteki noted a famous quote: It’s hard to be a woman, you must think like a man, act like a lady, look like a young girl, and work like a horse.

“My wish is to be an independent individual who will not to be boxed to the obvious. “I say this because some men believe once a woman get married to him then she (wife) should stop being an artist and stay at home cooking.

“I have a talented upcoming female artist suffering as a result of trying to balance both marriage and art. As women artists, we need moral support from the community and family.”

Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre director Virginia Muwanigwa said as Zimbabwean women, they look forward to realisation of the socio-economic and political rights the Constitution has promised.

“We continue to advocate for increased women’s voices, choices and control in law and in practice across sectors.

“Finally, IWD reinforces the notion that women are equal citizens who should not have to renegotiate rights already guaranteed as citizens!”

Writer Virginia Phiri said: “All I wish for the Zimbabwean women and the world over is that they keep “focussed”, work hard and be compassionate, peaceful and avoid making fools of themselves. Happy Women’s Day!”

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