Empowering Rural Women: International Women’s Day 2012

The national commemoration of International Women’s Day took place on 16 March 2012 where hundreds of women, men and youths converged at Siachilaba Business Centre in Binga District, 900km from the capital Harare.

Click to view photos from the event.Binga is regarded as one of the least developed districts in Zimbabwe, with women and children being among the poorest. The commemorations were held under the theme, Empower Rural Women - Eradicate Poverty and Hunger.

Drawn from different parts of Binga, women mounted merchandise they were making and selling to sustain their families, including artisanry and food. Through displaying their merchandize, the women were demonstrating that if given access to resources, they could contribute to poverty reduction and food security.

According to Rosemary Cumanzala, the Coordinator of Zubo -- meaning, bringing women together, “There is lack of access to credit facilities by rural women to enable them to diversify their entrepreneurial activities. In addition, the local market for their products is not so vibrant. To address this, the women expressed the desire to be linked to markets in order for them to realize significant incomes that can be used to sustain their households.”

The UN statement delivered by the UNFPA Representative, Basile Tambashe stated that gender inequality remained a concern in Zimbabwe, particularly in rural areas. The real income of women is three times less than that of men, and women have a higher structural unemployment rate of 70% compared to 56% for men. In her keynote address, the Minister for Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Hon. Olivia Muchena said the government was working to boost the capacity of women in agriculture through various means that included providing agricultural equipment and input support. The Minister also acknowledged the support received from the UN in promoting women’s empowerment.

More information on Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 3 - Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women.

More information on ZUNDAF National Development Priority 7 - Women's Empowerment, Gender Equality and Equity.