Indaba addresses women’s economic challenges

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THE Women in Enterprise Conference and Awards (WECA) will next month hold a breakfast meeting in Harare to address challenges facing women in economic development.
The meeting which will be facilitated by the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) will be held on February 27 under the theme ‘Identifying policy priorities and critical issues to enhance women entrepreneur’s participation in the Zimbabwean economy’.
In an interview with The Patriot, ZNCC vice-president Divine Ndhlukula, who is also chairperson for the Women’s Desk said the meeting is pursuing what was brought out by last year’s Women in Enterprise Conference and Awards, that knowledge gap of corporate and national policy on women economic empowerment was a major impediment to economic development.
“At last year’s conference, we identified knowledge gap of corporate and national policy on women economic empowerment as a major impediment to women enterprises development, hence the need to unpack these policies to help women take advantage of the opportunities therein,” said Ndhlukula.
Ndhlukula urged Government to proactively support women’s entrepreneurial efforts through its policies.
“When Government talks about women empowerment it should not be lip-service,” she said.
“It should fully implement women economic empowerment policies.”
Women, said Ndhlukula, should persevere in bringing about changes in the country’s political and economic platform, adding that the economic empowerment of women could not happen unless they are drawn into a new economic environment.
She encouraged women to push the Government to create the necessary environment for investment and business to take place.
Ndhlukula said WECA will also set up a technical committee that will monitor and evaluate present women economic empowerment policies to ensure they are compliant with the interests and demands of women in enterprise.
She said Zimbabwean women entrepreneurs were making progress, however, many business opportunities are being lost because of knowledge gap on corporate and national policies on women economic empowerment.
“Expert speakers have been invited to grace this event where participants will have an opportunity to exchange insights and experiences with peers across a diverse range of business organisations,” said Ndhlukula.
In Zimbabwe, women’s economic empowerment is a major thrust of the national gender machinery’s plans and programmes to advance gender equality and secure women’s socio-economic rights. .
In 2004, Zimbabwe adopted a National Gender Policy to provide guidelines and an institutional framework to promote gender activities in its sectoral policies and programmes at all levels of society and the economy.
Zimbabwe has two initiatives to increase Government’s capacity to deliver on (a) gender responsive economic and financial policy formulation and (b) to deliver better on the allocation of resources to improve the lived realities of women and girls that is Gender Responsive Budgeting and the Gender and Economic Policy Management Initiative.
Government has adopted the Gender and Economic Policy Management Initiative to mainstream gender into macro- economic and finance policy development and implementation, economic planning and economic policy analysis so that policies deliver equally to low income women and men.
This global initiative is currently in Africa, Asia and the Pacific regions.
The National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Charter, which sets out the principles and framework for achieving indigenisation and economic empowerment, includes provisions for, “equal opportunities for all, including gender sensitive ownership and participation in the economy by indigenous Zimbabweans.”

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