MDC ALLIANCE ASSEMBLY OF WOMEN STATEMENT ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF RURAL WOMEN & GIRLS – 15 OCTOBER
The MDC Alliance Assembly of Women (AOW) today joins the rest of the world in commemorating the International Day of Rural Women and Girls under the UN Women theme – “Rural Women Cultivating Good Food For All”.
Rural Women and girls play important roles in food systems, that is, from production, to processing, preparation, consumption and distribution of food as well as in securing household and community nutrition.
However, major power inequalities still exist between women and men in households and in our society. Discriminatory norms and practices are still prevalent and violence against women and girls continue unabated. A disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work result in unequal access to food and heightened experience of hunger, malnutrition, undernutrition, and food insecurity especially in the rural areas.
From time immemorial rural women have been living a drudgery type of life and this is mainly due to the adverse effects of ZANU PF’s failed leadership. The regime of Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa is presiding over one of the worst economic genocides and at the boiling point of such economic hardships is the rural woman.
Young women and girls in rural areas can not even access or afford sanitary pads and as we commemorate this day, we demand free access of sanitary wear to rural women.
We call upon the government to stop the politicisation of food aid as this is a serious violation of human rights as people are forced to support ZANU PF or face starvation. Again we see the majority of these being the vulnerable women and girls.
The MDC Alliance under the able leadership of President Nelson Chamisa, in its SMART policy document, speak of the Development and Urbanisation of Rural Areas (DURA), which will focus on Rural Industrialisation, thereby bringing proper development to rural areas and changinging the people’s lives, especially women and girls who always bears the brunt of under development.
We also call upon all the relevant stakeholders to end child marriages whereby the majority of the victims are rural girls. Far from media scrutiny, rural girls are often forced in child marriages under the veil of customs and religious practices. Let us all remember Memory Machaya a young and innocent victim of forced marriages and all other victims of abuse.
It is against this background that we encourage all rural women and girls to register to vote, and vote for change in the up coming elections.
Barbara Gwangwara Tanyanyiwa
MDC Alliance Assembly of Women