Zimbabweans were set to observe International Women's Day on Saturday amidst a deepening national crisis that has increased the burden on mothers of families ahead of national elections that under the best of circumstances will only mark the start of a difficult process of recovery from severe economic and social dislocations.
Organizers of the international event noted that this year's observations will fall on the 100th anniversary of a march by 15,000 women in New York City demanding a cut in working hours, higher pay and the right to vote. International Women's Day as such was launched March 8, 1911, by Clara Zetkin, a German social democrat.
Marking the event in Zimbabwe this year has not been easy - police in Gweru, capital of Midlands Province, initially refused to give the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions permission to hold a gathering but the ZCTU successfully sought court relief.
With presidential, parliamentary and local elections set for March 29, political parties of every stripe are claiming to have made progress in empowering women.
For a look at whether such claims are justified, reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe turned to political analysts Theresa Mugadza and Grace Kwinje, who said not much has been done for women in the country despite many promises.