Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) represented the informal economy at the Gender Reform in the Transitional Stabilisation Program Meeting on the 7th of October 2019 at Bronte Hotel in Harare. The meeting was hosted by Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA).
The main objective of the workshop was to understand the Transition Stabilization Program (TSP), to track gender reforms outcomes in the TSP and reflect on its effect on the economic growth, and the vulnerable groups including women, youths, and people with disabilities (PWD).
Organisations present were Zimbabwe Coalition for Debt ZIMCODD, Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ), Harare Residents Association, Women and Land Association in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Association (ZCIEA), Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN), Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ), Women’s Academy for Leadership (WALPE) in which Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) facilitated the workshop.
The Zimbabwean government introduced Vision 2030 which came up with the Transitional Stabilisation Program as a way to address or to implement its Vision of Upper Middle-income economy by 2030. Economic policy reform, institutional reforms, productive sector reform, public infrastructure are part of the TSP initiative. Gender mainstreaming has been regarded as the key to the effectiveness of the TSP.
Gender mainstreaming has been and is still of great significance to development. Sustainable Development Goals, Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), UN guiding Principles, Business, and Human Rights have been the baseline for many gender issues. Women, Youth, and People With Disabilities face barriers in accessing energy. Women are mostly affected as they try to look and use something that can give them energy. For example, traveling long distances fetching firewood and fetching water has become the norm and it has affected development.
Tracing on women’s rights, public debt/sovereign debt is also key in the process of monitoring the progress of the budget. The implementation of this monitoring process has been linked to the TSP where the general masses must sacrifice and persevere since the inception of the 2019 budget, and 2% tax
Women and land, ZCIEA, TIZ, Harare Residents Association, were the panelists on the topic dealing with women and how they are suffering from TSPs austerity measures. Almost 3/5 people who are contacting typhoid in Harare are women due to water shortages. Harare is only getting between 100 -200 megalitres of water against the 800megalitres of water.
Most women are found in the informal sector of the economy as opposed to the formal economy which is dominated by men. They have their economic, social and political needs. Women in the informal economy lack social protection which encompasses pension benefits, health insurance. On top of that, no consultations are offered as the Statutory Instruments take its power. Gendered corruption is at its very best in the country.
Because of the lack of effective gender institutions and barriers, most women are left behind especially when it comes to participating in the decision making, political arenas, businesses, and public offices. Bribing to get these social services has been the order of the day and it does not limit itself to monetary exchanges but also sextortion.
The workshop was eye-opening to all the participants. Both the presenters and the people in the audience benefited from the program. Covered areas were of great significance as it brought out the importance of women and their contribution as well as how they are being neglected with the so-called TSP as a strategy towards achieving vision 2030.
It is crystal clear that the TSPs do not touch on equality amongst the different groups. Women, children, middle- adults, the old and youths are suffering at the expense of austerity measures. Civil society organizations must remain focused to chip in to assist and monitor the government processes