Two hundred young Zimbabwean women met at the Zimbabwe Women’s Bureau Wednesday to find ways in which the Zanu-PF government can address their needs.
The women said they are facing challenges such as lack of state commitment in empowering them under the country’s indigenization programme.
The one-day ‘Taura Young Women’s Conference 2013’ hosted by the Zimbabwe Young Women's Network for Peace Building, focused on finding ways of working with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party to address some of their challenges that also include penetrating the political and business spheres dominated by men.
Grace Chirenje, director of the Zimbabwe Young Women’s Network, told journalists on the sidelines of the conference that most of the discussions centered on women’s participation in politics and their empowerment under the country’s indigenization programme.
Chirejre said the Women’s Affairs and Youth Empowerment and Development ministries have promised to work towards the development of young women.
Grace Wagoneka of Munhanga Phase Forum Trust, who was also one of the conference participants, said Zimbabwe’s patriarchal society was the root cause of young women’s marginalization.
Wagoneka said there is need for government to address this issue as it is based on retrogressive societal values that relegate young women to domestic chores.
A member of the Zimbabwe Young Women’s Network for Peace Building, Lillian Mukuku, also urged the government to implement sound policies that will empower young women instead of drafting and then abandoning high-sounding state documents.
At the same time, Sithabiso Ndlovu of Bulawayo blamed government for the marginalization of young women, saying they are only remembered when the country holds important elections. Ndlovu said this should come to an end.
She said the Zanu-PF government should encourage these women to use modern technology as it is now part of Zimbabwe’s education system.
The young women, who attended the conference ranging from 20 to 35 years, said they can no longer be left out of Zimbabwe’s economic transformation.
They noted that they have over the years been confined to projects like chicken rearing and peanut butter making, a situation that has degraded their status in society. They believe that they can be a force to reckon with in the near future in political and business circles.