RWA Zimbabwe: International Women\’s Day

RWA Zimbabwe celebrated International Women\’s Day in Murewa District, Mash East Province in collaboration with other local organisations and the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development. The event was also graced by the Ambassador of the European Union to Zimbabwe. RWA Zim noted that 2023 theme “DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality” explored the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities and also  highlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.  In addition, RWA women also  had  an opportunity to exhibit their wares which included  traditional seeds, woven bags, and other value-added traditional products. The event was attended by close to 400 women.

The celebrations focused on sensitising women and girls on the critical role of technology and innovation in achieving gender equality as well as the need for women to embrace technology. During the event women were given the opportunity to discuss some of the problems they face in the digital and technology space. Women indicated that most rural women participate less in digital space because they have limited knowledge, and some are technophobic, especially the elderly women. Another problem  highlighted was  that women  face   ICT  gender-based violence( online bullying). This has been one of the most trending problems faced especially with young women and girls.  Young women and girls are more attracted to social networking sites where cyberbullying often happens and therefore are at a greater risk of becoming cyberbullying victims which is usually initiated by men and boys. During the event women also stressed out that some fear participating in public spaces (political spaces) because of fears of online bullying.

The Minister of Women Affairs women however urged women of all age groups  to embrace digital technologies  to challenge all the inequalities. She also said that embracing technology can also be a prerequisite for amplifying and marketing their work to different markets across the globe. The Minister also announced that it is in the process of resuscitating women’s clubs to avail safe spaces at provincial and district levels which will promote women’s social and economic empowerment. Within these clubs’ women will also have the opportunity to access digital technologies. The Minister also stressed that organisations, CSOs should embrace a gender responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education as this can increase the awareness of women and girls  regarding their rights and civic engagement.

The Ambassador of the European Union to Zimbabwe commended the collective support that rural women showed as they exhibited their work by speaking on behalf of other women in their local communities who were unable to attend the event. He also emphasised on the need to support advancement of transformative technology and digital education in the rural communities so as empower rural people especially women and girls.

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