Women in the informal economic sector are more vulnerable to gender-based violence (GBV) as there are no policies to directly protect them in their line of duty, a government official has stated. These remarks were made by Dixon Dlomo, Provincial Development Coordinator of Bulawayo Metropolitan Affairs in the Ministry of Women Affairs, during an event organised by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) to commemorate 16 days of activism at the National Art Gallery, Friday. The event themed, “Sextortion is a form of Gender-Based Violence,” was held in partnership with the Ministry of Women Affairs.
Unpacking the theme, Dlomo highlighted that women in artisanal mining, cross border trading among other informal businesses are more prone to abuse.
“GBV emanates from power dynamics between two genders and in a position where one party is or feels more powerful than the other. Some women become vulnerable due to the sectors in which they work, in most cases women in informal sectors such as artisanal mining, cross border trading, vending are more exposed to GBV because they do not have readily available policies to protect them,” Dlomo said.
“It is slightly different from when they work in a formal set-up where there are clearly laid down policies speaking to issues of harassment and abuse.”
Dlomo noted that sextortion is a form of corruption which involves extortion through soliciting for sexual favours. He said this usually happens in instances where the one extorting sexual services, be it male or female is usually at a more powerful position.
“You may realise that even at work those who abuse others always target people whom they perceive weaker than themselves. They never target people whom they know can stand up against them,” Dlomo said.
“There are other forms of abuse which constitute to GBV. These include mental abuse and economic abuse. In a mutual relationship, when one fails to deliver their obligations either deliberately or unconsciously, it constitutes to some form of violence.”
Dlomo added: “People with the ability to advocate for and initiate change are very vital in the fight against GBV. These can be people in the media fraternity and policymakers. So much work needs to be done to ensure that this challenge comes to an end.”
Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)