The Minister of State for Small and Medium Enterprises, Sithembiso Nyoni, says while small businesses are good enough to sustain families and provide livelihoods, it is time for women to move into bigger spaces in politics and business to ensure that Zimbabwe attains sustainability economic growth.
Addressing business women and political leaders Mrs. Nyoni, who was guest of honour at the launch of an e-directory by a women's group, Proweb, at a breakfast meeting this morning in Bulawayo, said the Harare-based group needs to incorporate professional women from areas outside the capital city into its directory if it is to propel all women into public spaces.
She said her ministry has done a lot of work to propel women into business but this is not enough as they now need to get into bigger spaces where they can change policy and be counted as players in reviving Zimbabwe’s economy.
She added that, despite the fact that female business people are not seen in the corridors of power, a survey carried out by the World Bank last year indicates that 60% of small and medium enterprises are owned by women who employ 3 million people.
The Proweb E-Directory carries profiles of notable Zimbabwean women who have excelled in their professions, businesses and communities. The directory is meant to be used by companies seeking not only services, but women to sit on their boards.
Proweb president, Sibusisiwe Bango, said despite many women who have excelled in different spheres, companies tend to recycle the same women in their appointments which shows that there is need for women to be more visible.
She said women should use their large numbers to promote their businesses and networks and make them work towards their growth.
The Proweb launch was supported by the United States Embassy in Harare and Women Unlimited as partners. The organisation was formed in 2005 to bring together women from various spheres and help them network, while lobbying for equal space for women in public spaces.