IT is beyond reproach that women’s equal access to and control over economic and financial resources is critical for the achievement of gender equality.
The empowerment of women is vital for the realisation of equitable and sustainable economic growth and development of any given society hence the launch of the Women’s Microfinance Bank in Zimbabwe is a giant step in the right direction.
Improving the economic status of women in society will go a long way in addressing the gender inequalities that have worked against sustainable development in almost all parts of the globe.
Research over the years has revealed that gender equality in the distribution of economic and financial resources has positive multiplier effects for a range of key development goals, including poverty reduction and the welfare of children.
The 2013 Human Development Report produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) shows that Zimbabwe is not doing very well in various development indicators including gender equality.
According to the report, the Gender Inequality Index (GII) for Zimbabwe for 2012 was 0.544 ranking the country at number 116 out of 148 countries covered in the report.
The GII index reflects gender-based inequalities among other dimensions the issue of economic activity which is measured by gender labour market participation rate.
It is against this background that the launch of the Women’s Microfinance Bank deserves the support of all progressive citizens as it seeks to solve the long standing gender disparities that have militated against development in general and the welfare of women and children in particular.
Since time immemorial, women in this country and on the continent at large have been denied access to ownership and control of key factors of production that include capital and land.
Therefore, the launch of the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank is a welcome development that should be used as an avenue to extricate women from the jaws of poverty.
Women’s Microfinance Bank is a noble venture especially as more women are involved in agriculture, so investing in them is a strategic way of ensuring food security.
It is sad to note that women had no access to bank loans and lines of credit as they do not have collateral given that most properties are registered in the name of the spouse.
Now that the Women’s Bank has been launched, women are expected to get easy access to capital and subsequently uplift their status economically.
It should, however, be noted that one major area of concern is that this noble venture, just like some initiatives before it, must never be accessible to those in Harare only.
If this initiative is going to help improve the state of women in our society, citizens would like Government to intervene and enable women access credit through this bank from wherever they are across the country.
After all, marginalised women are mainly found in other areas that are not Harare.
The bank’s activities need to be available in all provinces so that women from all corners of the country can access its services.
Elsewhere in this newspaper where we carry a story on the launch of the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank, complains have already been raised that there is not enough information concerning the bank.
It is crucial that citizens are given requisite knowledge on how the bank intends to operate through provision of information in simple terms that suit the targeted marginalised women.
Be that as it may, the launch of Women’s Bank, the first of its kind in the region which also comes as part of the all encompassing development initiatives of the new political dispensation in the country, will certainly go a long way in addressing the challenges faced by women in this country.