Young Women in Mines Bemoan Further Marginalization
Women in Vumbachikwe Mine in ward 21, Gwanda, Matebeleland South have challenged the mine authorities to relook into their employment strategy which closes out women, asking for equal employment so that they can afford to fend for their families as they have full family responsibilities.
Marginalization of women remains a challenge and has affected their employability chances despite them being qualified. Section 80 (1) of the Zimbabwean stipulates every woman has full and equal dignity of the person with men and this includes equal opportunities in political, economic and in social activities. However, at Vumbachikwe mine young women are denied employment opportunities on the basis that they not fit for manual work hence prioritizing men whenever employment opportunity arise, which women refuted as baseless submissions by non-considerate management.
This came out at a meeting that was organised by Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT) to discuss the socio-economic issues affecting women at the mine. Vumbachikwe mine produces one of the top gold ores in Zimbabwe but remains underdevelopment further exposing women to serious service delivery challenges. Girls have been forced to miss school during heavy rains owing to their physical being; that led them to fail to use other alternative shabby Mtshabezi bridge.
The meeting was attended by young women, ward councilor and top management of the mining company.
Women also complained about the lack of commitment by the management and the political leaders to address service delivery concerns affecting their welfare. This has seen many women, especially pregnant ones being forced to travel 25km to the nearest public hospital using somewhat ‘unfriendly’ roads.
Young women challenged the mine authorities to address the issue of service delivery as it is benefiting from the proceeds of the local resources, the community included. The mine should ensure corporate social responsibility, so that the community benefit from the extraction of local resources.
These meetings are held under the auspices of Women’s Social Inclusion Project, which is being implemented by three organizations namely CYDT, Women in Leadership Development (WILD) and Women Development Association of Zimbabwe (WoDAZ). The project gives women in the periphery of Gwanda an opportunity to interact with their community leaders and discuss issues affecting their welfare at the same time hindering them to effectively engage in local political processes.
At the same time, community leaders applauded these organizations for coming up with such a unique program which exhibits zeal of empowering rural women to the extent that they will be able to articulate their legal rights and be in a position to demand such from duty bearers.