Protection of women key to nation development

20 Sep, 2022 - 15:09 0 Views
Protection of women key to nation development VISET Executive Director Mr Samuel Wadzai


Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter

THE Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) has called for the protection of women in the informal trade sector.

The organisation made the call at the presentation of the unpaid work validation report held at Bronte Hotel recently.

Addressing guests at the presentation of the validation research report on unpaid care work by women and the challenges they face, VISET executive director Mr Samuel Wadzai called for social protection of women in informal trade.

“There is need for social protection on women in informal trade as they face continuous harassment from the local authorities. Women in informal trade work in a precarious environment as they need to balance their unpaid care work and vending. There are no supporting systems for these women. They continue to face harassment from council officials,” he said.

The presentation of the validation report on unpaid work was attended by officials from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Findings in the report show that there are gaps in the informal sector that Government, development partners and the private sector can work together to close. The report states the need for stakeholders to recognise informal trade as work.

“COVID-19 taught us a big lesson, the Government should invest in social protection mechanisms which cater for informal traders as they are not supported by NSSA. There is a need for the Government to put in place policies that help to reduce informality on a gradual basis but tackle the drivers of informality like social and financial exclusion and offer incentives for traders to operate formally. Most businesses in the informal sector have been small for a long time due to difficulties in accessing capital for business expansion.

“More work needs to be done to re-skill and up-skill informal workers so that they use innovative approaches which respond to current economic dynamics for them to grow their ventures towards the formal economy,” reads the report.

It also calls for curbing rampant corruption at all levels within the informal sector.

“This is possible through recognising the informal sector and creating a regulatory framework that facilitates their work, decriminalise the sector and grow into small to medium businesses.

“The is a need for development partners, Government and the private sector to join hands in the provision of decent and gender-sensitive market infrastructure and create platforms for engagement with policy makers to transform the sector.  Awareness raising for the informal traders is necessary for them to understand their rights which if not, exposes them to abuse,” states the report.

According to the report, most of the interviewees were not aware of any policy that supports gender roles in informal trade.

VISET said this calls for more sensitisation on policies that exist and also for interrogation of practices exacerbating the problems identified.

Calls were made for law enforcement agents such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the municipal police to carry some form of identification to avoid unruly elements impersonating themselves as authorities, VISET said.

The ZRP and municipal police also need training to understand the link between women, unpaid care and domestic work and the informal sector.

VISET was formed and registered in 2015 to spearhead the social and economic transformation of informal traders by championing their quest to earn livelihoods in the current harsh economic environment.

The organisation was also formed pursuant to the need for a solidarity centre for informal traders who continue to be victims of human rights violations.

The presentation of the report also presented a platform for stakeholders to comprehensively map and provide a broad understanding of the informal economy in Zimbabwe.

Speakers at the event provided evidence of opportunities for youth employment in the informal economy including those living with disabilities. They called for the development of strategically tailor-made and evidence-based recommendations for various policy actors for the formalisation of the informal economy.

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