The Plight of Rural Women

Ronald Chigwada

On the 15th of October, Zimbabwe joined rest of the world in commemorating International Day of Rural Women with the “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19”.

Civil Society Organisations and political parties called on government to find solutions to problems faced by rural women through availing community centred communication channels for dissemination of information and empowerment.

Labour Economists and Afrikan Democratic Party (LEAD) president Linda Masarira, said “International Day of Rural Women recognises the critical role, contribution of rural women in transforming the lives of rural people and the nation at large”.

Masarira added that Covid-19 pandemic has affected their socio-economic lives by worsening and heightening the vulnerability of health matters and daily duties.

In an interview with Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations national coordinator Vivian Marara Zhangazha reiterated the importance of community media in bridging information gap between urban and rural women.  

“Community radio stations can play a vital role in communities and act as tools for dissemination of information and empowerment of rural women. Through community radios rural women can be updated on local and national issues of governance, the ongoing budget discussion, issues of gender based violence and most importantly health issues as we are in the month of October which is breast cancer awareness month”.

Rural Women in Zimbabwe (Newsday)

A concern has over the years been raised on health service accessibility in rural areas and lack of adequate and effective awareness on breast cancer awareness month.  This is a call for Community Based Organisation and government to intervene.

Speaking to Community Radio Harare (CORAH), Signs of Hope leader, Samantha Sibanda said that women with disabilities in rural areas are less educated compared to their male counterparts, they are misinformed and lack access to critical technologies that can improve their lives. Sibanda added that in terms of provision of services, health care workers should have an inclusive approach when educating, disseminating information and leave no rural women behind.

Statistics show that nearly 90% of women living in rural areas travel long distances to fetch water from unprotected sources for home use and there is an outcry for more boreholes to boost their agricultural activities which is being affected by climate change.

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