SOURCE: The Herald

Zimbabwe is committed to empowering women in all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, mining and manufacturing, Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in Harare yesterday.

The empowerment of women ensures gender equality and women empowerment to achieve sustainable development by 2030.

Zimbabwe supported some women to participate in the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) held at the United Nations headquarters in New York on the theme: "Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective."

Speaking during the CSW68 review meeting in Harare yesterday, Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe successfully held all three planned side events during the CSW68.

"One was financial inclusion and social protection. We showcased the work that our First Lady is doing together with many other stakeholders in this country," she said.

"We also had another side event where the Zimbabwean Government participated. Our panelists were excellent and demonstrated a very high level of preparedness. The eloquence and level of articulation of the issues were excellent. Even the feedback that we got from these side events was very constructive. We did well and we are proud of ourselves."

Minister Mutsvangwa applauded the women who are working in the country's judiciary, adding that their story "was loudly told through the side event" held by the Government of Zimbabwe in collaboration with the UNDP head office and UN Women.

There is a need to implement an agreement to come up with strategies and interventions for implementing CSW68, she said.

"We should interrogate today as part of devising strategies on how to support the implementation of gender equality and women empowerment initiatives and as part of the national action," she said.

"We need to see more women train in digital skills. We cannot continue to live without what modern technology is all about."

Training women in digital skills is critical as most businesses are now online.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe's participation in CSW68 was not only to share experiences but to learn from others. The Zimbabweans learned from the bold strategies that other member States were implementing.

"While learning is an important aspect of our everyday lives, what matters most is what we do with the lessons we learn. It is time to translate the learning into meaningful, innovative, sustainable, and substantive actions that transform the lives of the women and girls that we serve.

"We even saw it during Covid-19. So, if we don't train our women, our young women, and our youths in digital skills, they will not be able to sell whatever they are promised," said Minister Mutsvangwa.

In terms of girls, Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe had achieved a lot of milestones since independence.

However, she bemoaned the continued marrying off of children.

The Government is committed to empowering women in the agriculture sector. "We are talking to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development to look at the work that our women are doing in terms of producing good food for our people," she said.

"We need empowered women so that they can start from the way they bring up their children so that we bring up children who are well-empowered, children who will be taken off the streets, not to take drugs and substance abuse, children who will not sell themselves, but children who will be empowered, who will be given programs and projects to do.

"As a ministry, we are also talking with financial institutions to look at the work that is being done by women in this country," said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Through the Zimbabwe Women's Microfinance Bank, women in business now had access to loans and could start businesses.

Once women are empowered, the President's mantra of leaving no one and no place behind will be achieved.

"I urge all sectors to have monitoring and evaluation to see how women are being treated and how they are achieving, because sometimes we may assume that the women are promoted and are in top positions without seeing evidence," she said.

The director of Tag a Life International Ms Nyaradzo Mashayamombe said society should applaud Government efforts in empowering women.

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