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Uhuru promoting women leadership

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Uhuru promoting women leadership

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ZIMBABWE has been highly successful in its efforts to economically empower women and give them equal
opportunities, as men, to hold influential leadership positions in the public and private sectors since its
Independence in 1980.
Prior to the attainment of Independence from Britain in 1980, local women in the then Rhodesia were not
allowed to own the means of material production, such as land, or to occupy key leadership positions in
the private sector.
However, when Zimbabwe attained Independence, such policies, introduced by the minority white settler
regime were aborted by the Government to address gender inequalities that existed at the time.
In the new Zimbabwe, women now occupy leadership positions across the realms of politics, business and
wider society.
As the country celebrates 43 years of Independence today, Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF) president
Ms Henrietta Rushwaya, whose organisation is the mother body of all small-scale miners in Zimbabwe
said: “The country has availed to us a plethora of opportunities.
“As women, the onus is on us to take up those opportunities. Iʼm the president of the small-scale miners, I
run a constituency which has +/- 2 million miners in the country and I was the first football female chief
executive o􀁸icer world over, and that is indicative of the fact that Zimbabwe as a country gives women
equal opportunities as their male counterparts.”
Ms Rushwaya said, as ZMF they were privileged and honoured to be the beneficiaries of Zimbabweʼs hardwon
Independence.
“As such we are calling upon all peace-loving Zimbabweans to support the Government fully in its
endeavours of ensuring that everyone has free access to all the areas that this country has availed to us;
be it the education sector, health or mining sector; mostly the mining sector where small-scale miners
happen to now be the biggest contributors of the yellow metal.
“As Zimbabweans, we will not be deterred, even small-scale miners mostly, we will not be deterred by the
foreign machinations that are bent on undermining the hard gains of our Independence,” she said.
The small-scale mining industry, particularly the gold sub-sector where most artisanal and indigenous
miners are involved, has been pivotal in supporting the growth of the gold mining industryʼs contribution
to the economy.
In recent years the small-scale mining sector has traditionally led in gold production or deliveries to
Zimbabweʼs exclusive buyer of the yellow metal, Fidelity Gold Refiners.
Against this background, last year the country produced 35,3 tonnes of gold with the small-scale miners
delivering over 24 tonnes.
Economic analyst Ms Chipo Warikandwa said Zimbabwe has since Independence made significant strides
in its quest to give women equal opportunities as their male counterparts.
“In business, we find that even in boards and executive management positions of some of these
parastatals, women are leading, giving strategic direction, something which did not exist prior to
Independence.
“Even when it comes to economic distribution, we find that women are being considered and this is
something we continue to applaud and we hope that both the public sector and private sector will
continue to involve women so that there is 50/50 representation,” she said.
Women Farmers Association Trust president Ms Dephina Nkomo, in a separate interview yesterday, said
before 1980 women were not allowed to own the means of production such as land, but the repressive
colonial policy by the Rhodesians came to an abrupt end when the country attained Independence.
“Since Independence, women now own the means of production and occupy influential leadership
positions, something which in the past did not exist.
“Following the successful land reform programme in 2000 when the Government re-distributed land, a
majority of the previously landless Zimbabweans were economically empowered.
“Land was parcelled out equally to everyone including women.
“For instance, I am a widow but with land that I got through the land reform programme our Government
embarked on. And on my farm, which is A1 in Chegutu district, Mashonaland West province, I am using the
land productively producing different crops such as maize, sunflower and mostly small grains like
sorghum especially given the adverse effects of climate change,” she revealed.
“The freedom that we cherish today mostly benefited women as this is the gender that was previously
hard hit by marginalisation and the inequalities that existed before Independence.
“Apart from participating in economic empowerment initiatives, we also find that women in Zimbabwe
today occupy influential leadership positions, be it in public or private sectors and this is something that
we need to be proud of.”
Some of the women occupying or have occupied influential leadership positions in business and politics,
among other realms, Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister
Sithembiso Nyoni, Defence and War Veteran Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Air Zimbabwe
board chair Dr Chipo Mutasa, Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) commissioner Dr Grace
Muradzikwa.
“We are excited that women that have been entrusted to steer the ship in different institutions across all
sectors have proved that they are a force to reckon with,” added Ms Nkomo.

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