In closing off Women’s month, The Informal Economy Women’s Hub (INEWOH) recently held celebrations in Hatcliffe, Harare.
Speaking at the celebrations that saw women in the informal economy, church leaders of various denominations, gender activists gracing the occasion as delegates, Gillian Chinzete said it was of critical importance for women to find time to gather and share their experiences in order to lighten the burden of their lived existences.
Gillian explained that the underlying motivation for INEWOH was to provide a solidarity centre for female informal economy players who form the majority in the sector, providing for families and yet whose mental and physical wellbeing was always considered least, largely owing to the patriarchal nature of society.
As the world emerges from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, few people have paid notice to the long-lasting effects that women as primary care givers at household level in such a precarious time have been left with. During those times of extreme lockdown, many were subjected to domestic violence with most cases going unreported.
With the scourge of alcohol and substance abuse amongst the youth, many women are faced with having to cater to the psychological effects of this ill with little access to state facilities that have the capacity to deal with the problem, as such church leaders present affirmed their readiness to assist with counseling services to augment INEWOH efforts.
Gillian acknowledged the immense challenges that female traders shared that included provision of social safety nets, unpaid care work, water provision, health services, sexual harassment, domestic violence and adequate marketplaces with gender specific facilities. She said INEWOH will mobilise support from partners and government agencies in order to mitigate and address the challenges, but that in addition, counseling, health and legal support were now in place for those in need. The Hub is also tabling a proposal to Harare City Council for the provision of open spaces to set up market gardens for women in various wards of the city and tying this to vending licenses in order to improve livelihoods of women as it is the Hub’s belief that economic empowerment of women will assist to #BreakTheBias.