Women in Zimbabwe continue to suffer marginalisation being relegated to the informal economy, a paper by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has revealed.
The paper prepared by Tamuka Chirimambowa lists women, youths and people living with disabilities among the most vulnerable groups which are normally marginalised in communities.
“Economically, women and youth continue to remain marginalised. Traditionally, women have been relegated to the informal economy selling second hand and new clothes, cosmetics and hairdressing as well as cross border trading,” Chirimambowa says.
“In these spaces women face problems that include limited access to credit and financing – without access to credit, most of the women end up trapped in low-end income-generating activities in the informal economy that have easy entry requirements, which in most cases is selling fruit and vegetables.”
The informal economy, where women have been relegated to has been facing challenges with lack of proper trading areas. Authorities have reportedly demolishing trading areas for the informal traders.
Lockdowns have left businesses in the informal sector closed whilst other trades continue operating according to Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA).
Chirimambowa says,” The informal sector operates under strict restrictions as there has been no proper legislation that specifically deals with the new economic reality.”
“This has resulted in economies of patronage as the dominant mode of governance within this sector. Clashes between informal traders versus Municipal Police with the support of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) have become a norm.”
Women are not only marginalised economically but politically according to the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition paper.
“Politically-women and young (wo)men are particularly constrained from playing a critical role in governance and decision making because of the negative effects of patriarchal practices of ageism and gender discrimination at the family, community and national level,” Chirimambowa says.
“An assessment of the party lists from the Women in Politics Support Unit during the 2018 elections found that neither the ruling Zanu-PF, which has a 30% quota for women, nor the main opposition MDC Alliance, which boasted a 50% quota for women, have failed to live up to their manifestos.”