Women in informal sector bear brunt of economic collapse

The continuous closure of companies in Manicaland province is impacting negatively on the lives of women the informal sector as more people can no longer afford to spend.

Women in the Informal sector have borne the brunt of economic meltdown in the country.
Women in the Informal sector have borne the brunt of economic meltdown in the country.

Bennita Gonese, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Association (ZCIEA) President for Manicaland, told The Zimbabwean that women constitute a large percent of those operating in the informal sector .

“The ongoing closure of companies in the province has a negative bearing on the lives of these women, who rely on the employed workers to buy their goods,” said Gonese. Her statement came on the heels of the closure of Bhadhella Wholesalers in Mutare, which used to employ hundreds of people and also served the informal sector with cheap wares for resale.

“The informal sector was relying heavily on the few people who have remained at work. But by the look of things we are heading for tough times – especially for women, who constitute a large percent in the informal sector,” she said.

Gonese said the government should pull up its stocks and come up with solutions to the challenges destroying the economy.

“There is need for collective effort by every stakeholder to join hands and come up with a solution. If everyone joins the informal sector, who will their customers be? We can`t be all informal traders, some people have to be employed so that our industry can thrive, “she said.

Goneso said women were the majority breadwinners as many had been left by their husbands who joined the great trek into the Diaspora in search of greener pastures.

“Women have borne the brunt of the economic meltdown because as you know they are the backbone of the family. Some were left by their husbands who ran away from the country`s challenges into neighbouring countries and never came back,” she said.

“Women are suffering as a result of poor performance of the country`s economy because they have to fend for their families single-handedly. It`s unfortunate that their voices are not being heard because of bureaucracy in the government. But we will continue to make noise,” she said. She urged government through to avail cheaper loans and training to local women so that they could become competitive and expand their business through using modern business management skills.

“Women need to be empowered financially, especially in this environment where life is becoming more difficult every day. They need new business skills to tackle to current harsh micro economic challenges,” she said. ZCIEA has over 1,000 registered members in Mutare, most of them women.

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