Editorial

LEAD commits to transform livelihoods of rural women

Story Highlights
  • LEAD is the solution to rid Zimbabwe of the corruption and poor governance. Rural women suffer the most from the activities of corrupt, uncouth and unethical leaders who are holding public offices.

International Day of Rural Women: Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19

15 October 2020

LABOUR Economists and Afrikan Democrats joins the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day of Rural Women, which this year fell on Thursday 15th October, 2020.

The Day recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” 

It is purposely held the day before World Food Day, in order to highlight the role played by rural women in food production and food security.

Women play a vital role in the rural economy, the #Covid19 pandemic has greatly affected them socially, economically and emotionally. The pandemic has also heightened the vulnerability of rural women’s rights to land and resources. 

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 socio-economic status quo. The Pfumvudza concept is good for subsistence farming and food security of families and not income generation.

The current wave of job losses induced by the Corona virus pandemic have a serious adverse effect on elderly women who relied on their working children to provide them with seed and fertilizer.

Vendors were restricted from selling their wares, which was their only source of livelihood in this harsh economic climate which the majority of Zimbabweans have been subjected to.

These vendors were also breadwinners to elderly women in rural areas.

Rural women in Zimbabwe suffer from poor government policies which do not consider their plight as most of them failed to get basic education. 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 stereotypes 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 constant cutting down of trees is detrimental to the ecosystem and environment as it causes deforestation which increases the rate of global warming.

Global warming has adverse effects on the rainfall patterns, which contributes to drought and directly affects the rural woman. The current government in Zimbabwe has failed to correct and find solutions to the problems facing the average rural woman.

The ruling party has failed to address water and sanitation issues in rural areas which has adversely affected the health of women living in rural areas.

LEAD president Linda Masarira says her party is committed to transforming the livelihoods of the average rural woman by empowering, educating and training them to become financially independent.

Nearly 90% 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.

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.

Rural Zimbabwean women are still being treated as second class citizens 40 years after lndependence and that has to change.

LEAD is committed to transforming the livelihoods of the average rural woman by empowering, educating and training them to become financially independent.

The colonial setting made men wage workers in industry and farms but did not pay them well to enable them to survive. Women and children left in rural areas ended up working to complement their husbands working in town.

Today, due to de-industrialization, women are suffering even more as they have to feed the whole family without any help from men as they are unemployed. With water and electricity not being adequately provided by government, and poverty levels remaining as high as 90% in rural areas, women bear the largest burden of poverty in Zimbabwe.

LEAD is the solution to rid Zimbabwe of the corruption and poor governance. Rural women suffer the most from the activities of corrupt, uncouth and unethical leaders who are holding public offices.

As Labour, Economists and Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) we have SEED as our Manifesto which is Sustainable Empowerment and Economic Development (SEED).

Our focus is mainly on development, devolution, depolarizing the political economy, decolonizing the mindset and economic growth. Rural development is at the core of our mandate. Agriculture contributes to development as ana economic activity and livelihood.

In recognition of the great work that women in rural areas continue to do, to sustain livelihoods, it is imperative to unlock opportunities for them to move from subsistence farming to commercial farming.

Agriculture is an instrument for achieving propoor and inclusive development which will uplift the quality of lifestyle for women living in rural areas.

LEAD is an alternative peoples party which is concerned about the plight of all Zimbabweans taking into cognisance the plight of the rural woman. We intend to bring about free and fair democratic elections thereby bringing good governance and relief to the suffering rural women in Zimbabwe.

Linda Masarira
LEAD President ■

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