Empowering women is definitely the best way to tackle poverty in developing African countries
Written by Otto Tendayi Mponda
Some of our African customs and beliefs have in the past hindered many young girls from reaching the zenith of their education and being reckoned as bonafide business women who can stand on their own two feet regardless of either having a Ms, Mrs or Miss female title. Some young girls have either fallen victim to rape, physical and emotional abuse, forced marriages, war and tourture, peer pressure and lack of sanitary pads among other things. Although it is a blessing to be able to have witnessed how much things have been changing for the better in recent years, some young girls and women still continue to suffer in silence. It is my belief that all we need to do is to reach out to one another in the fight against all social ills that disadvantage the girl child regardless of whether they are products of our past traditions or poverty itself. Having said this, it is refreshing to think of how much potential Africa still has at eradicating poverty if it passionately continues to empower the girl child and women in general in areas such as education, politics, business, sexual health and birth control as well as access to equal opportunities among other important things.
I often wondered why some African governments struggled to keep their politics and economies in control under their male dominated leaderships, yet possessing great examples of highly industrious women leaders who successfully operated at grassroots level in their various communities. Definitely adequate female representation in influentially decisive roles was amiss, which is why l strongly believe that we still need to forster more women to the top of the political and economic ladder if we are to keep afloat as a prosperous African continent. I mean, if you happen to pass by any local market in any country in Africa, the majority of industrious sellers there who are making things happen appear to be women. These women in question happen to be among the most vibrant people that l have ever seen who have managed to improve the lives of many in significant ways. After years of observing great outcomes under the leadership of women, I am of the opinion that empowering more women by any legislative means possible is definitely the way forward if Africa is to effectively tackle poverty.
Over the years, I have known many inspirational women from my local village of Shurugwi, in Zimbabwe, who have single handily managed to educate several of their children from kindergarten up to university level, from the money attained from market trading alone. Others were in the business of going to countries like South Africa and Mozambique for months on end with the hope of selling woolen doilies, table cloths and cotton chair covers in order to earn a living. Some women where always successful in their foreign endeavors and some would come back with their goods unsold, but this never deterred them from going back again and again until they would eventually manage to successfully sell all their stuff. It is this kind of determination that Africa needs in order to tackle poverty and it is through empowering such women that we can finally pat ourselves at the back as a continent and claim to have done something worthwhile in guaranteeing ourselves of a bright and poverty free future.