Women empowerment fails


Former Irish President Mary Robinson’s visit to Zimbabwe for a Zimbabwe High Level Dialogue on Women Empowerment a few weeks ago has failed to yield results with no tangible activity having taken place.
During Robinson’s visit, women from the three political parties signed a deal that was to foster a working relationship in business and politics despite political affiliation.
The visit was greeted with pomp and fanfare by women in politics, business and those trying to foster national healing but months down the line, nothing seems to have materialised for women empowerment.
The women from the three main political parties were represented by Senator Enna Chitsa (MDC-T), Zanu PF by Oppah Muchinguri and MDC-M represented by Tsitsi Dangarembga when a deal was signed but a follow up by this reporter has revealed no progress.
The deal , along thelines of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by their male counterparts Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara set tone for women empowerment but the slow pace it is being implemented has “killed” the morale. This, according to other women who feel sidelined by the deal, has exposed the weakness of some purporting to represent ordinary women.
Minister of Women Affairs Gender and Community Development Olivia Muchena on Monday said that she was yet to get the latest developments as the women who signed the deal were yet to come to her office.
“The agreement was between the three main political parties. I can confirm one or two meetings but l do not have details of the meeting. They were supposed to meet and map the way forward,” said Muchena.
When Robinson was in the country to witness the “historic deal”, indications were that unity had been achieved for the benefit of the ordinary women, those in business and politics.
Representatives of the women groups, including Profesional Women, Women Executives and Business women Forum said then the deal was to foster an environment conducive for women development in all aspects.
A renowned businesswoman who could not be named said that the problem with women was in implementing what they would have set.
“Women are sharp and good in deliberations but if you get to implementing things, we have a problem,” she said.
“Personally l am against this habit of conference business where people take pleasure in signing deals they fail to implement and at the end of the day, there is nothing tangible to show,” said the business woman who has several accolades to her credit.
Another business woman Nancy Saungweme, managing director of Aloe Enterprises said that women were passive in taking up key responsibility areas that need hard decisions.
“Women have great potential to do well in mining, retail enterprise and any other form of business but our weakness is the existence of ‘boys clubs’.
In these clubs, men promote each other as most of them own resources including banks,” she said.
Saungweme hailed the step taken by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe for a women’s bank concept but was quick to express hope that it be implemented for the benefit of women.
“If that bank is estblished then it will be great step but we just hope that it is not just talk and no walk. For women to achieve we have to walk the talk,” she said.
Biata Nyamupinga of Zanu PF said that nothing tangible had been achieved after Robinson’s departure.
“After Robinson’s departure we only had a follow-up meeting and nothing else. I don’t know from other stakeholders but that’s as far as l know,” she said.
Women have been clamouring for equal representation in all aspects of the economy and politics but the slow pace in implementing their resolutions has dampened the spirits of many who remain content with “small business”.