By Patricia Chinyoka
The empowerment and autonomy of women and the improvement of their political, social, economic and health status is very important. In addition, it is essential for the achievement of sustainable development.
Everyone must have equal right to participate in education, society, economy and politically regardless of their gender or background. Women face threats to their lives, health and well- being as a result of their lack of power and influence.
In some parts of the world, women receive less formal education than men, and at the same time, women’s own knowledge, abilities and coping mechanisms often go unrecognised.
The power relations that impede women’s attainment of healthy and fulfilling lives operate at many levels of society, from the most personal to the highly public.
Achieving change requires policy and programme actions that will improve women’s access to secure livelihoods and economic resources, alleviate their extreme responsibilities with regard to housework, remove legal impediments to their participation in public life, and raise social awareness through effective programmes of education and mass communication.
Education is one of the most important means of empowering women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the development process.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserted that ‘everyone has the right to education’ but we still find that in some cultures girls and women are locked out of education. There are approximately 960 million illiterate adults in the world, of whom two thirds are women.
More than one third of the world’s adults, most of them women, have no access to printed knowledge, to new skills or to technologies that would improve the quality of their lives and help them shape and adapt to social and economic change. There are 130 million children who are not enrolled in primary school and 70 per cent of them are girls. (UNFPA, 2020).
Women are also more likely to have a persistent low income, compared to approximately 14 percent of men. Living in persistent poverty denies women the opportunity to build up savings and assets to fall back on in times of hardship. Women face additional poverty risks as a result of their lower earning power, caring responsibilities and changing family structure.
As a Diversity & Inclusion Race and Gender expert inspired by stories from Zimbabwean women seeking mentoring to gain and/or enhance skills to set up businesses during COVID-19 I have decided to launch this group. This group is open to women residing in Zimbabwe. Whilst the group focuses on Zimbabwe, women living in the UK region who wish to join are welcome.
The purpose of Women of Zimbabwe group is to promote and empower women in such a way that they have knowledge, skills and confidence to create change to support them fulfil their potential.
Patricia Chinyoka is the founder of Care for Someone Charity which supports children from disadvantaged backgrounds access education in Zimbabwe. In her day job, she works within the Diversity & Inclusion space, a Race and Gender Equality expert who advises public and private sector organisations which include Royal Air Force (RAF), Shell, Cabinet Office, and LinkedIn.
As an experienced public speaker to high level audiences and has spoken at the British Army (Queen’s Gurkha Regiment), Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the Royal Navy, Bank of England amongst other organisations. Patricia holds a BSc Hons. Psychology and MA (HR & Employment Studies) and is an Associate CIPD member.
How to join – WoZ Facebook