VISET sets sight on women empowerment
By Edward Mukaro
The Vendors Initiative for social and Economic Transformation (VISET) has set its sight on empowering women to benefit from their Constitutional rights and improve their socio-economic standing.
Through its recently launched Informal Economy Women’s Hub (INEWOH), VISET seeks to lobby for the inclusion of women and also to conscientise women on their rights as citizens of the country.
“The Hub, which was launched in August of this year, has a programmatic thrust that is anchored on enhancing the entrepreneurial skills of women in the informal economy, development of a gender policy for the informal economy, improving access to information, fostering financial inclusion, participation in development anchored decision-making processes, elimination of gender corruption, gender-based violence and the championing of reproductive health issues,” said VISET.
Addressing delegates who attended a recent workshop under the INEWOH banner, VISET executive director Samuel Wadzi said the vendors’ body will also among other things raise awareness on recourse available when violations visit them in the workplace in the form of gendered corruption such as the practice of ‘sex tortion’, where traders are coerced into giving sexual favours by policing authorities and pace barons.
Wadzai also announced the organisation’s plans to launch a behavioural pledge in municipal markets throughout the country as a means of self-regulation, as women are equally victims to abusive behaviour from their male colleagues through the use of inappropriate language and catcalling, among other violations.
According to reports, Zimbabwe has recorded an unprecedented number of women reporting being forced to exchange sex for employment or business favours.
A report by Transparency International Zimbabwe entitled Gender and Corruption; interviews with female entrepreneurs highlight how they have all at one time experienced sexual harassment in the course of their business.
One responded in the report states: “At times you get asked for sexual favours in return for tenders or business. What makes the situation difficult especially for state contracts is how women in business are perceived by men in control of these processes.
“When they see a woman for most of them sex is the first thing that comes to their mind.’ Hence women are sexualised and seen as sex-preneurs rather than entrepreneurs”.