Government must stop neglecting rural women: iLIVE
I desperately waited for Women's Month to raise issues affecting women in rural areas.
I am not a doomsayer, but felt it was better to question the hypocrisy and hollow speeches that characterise our Women's Month every year.
It is a month undeserving of celebration if there are still destitute women who are abused.
The plight of rural women persists regardless of the women's march in 1956, the democratic dispensation and a special holiday dedicated to them. When their sophisticated counterparts in urban areas demand balanced gender representation and roles in senior management, prominence in politics, the economy and social spheres, most rural women plead for basic services such as water and healthcare.
The establishment of the Women, Children and People with Disabilities Ministry raised hopes for women in remote rural areas. I assumed rural women projects would be prioritised to facilitate economic development and improve their livelihood. The economic independence of disadvantaged women, improvement of their educational opportunities and reduction in violence against women will be realised only when empowerment programmes are implemented, not by rhetorical support.
There are no well-defined strategies in place to reduce disparities between rural and urban women .
Rural women are capable. What they call for is government's backing to advance their projects and harness their skills. There are social clubs, agricultural projects and small businesses in almost all rural villages initiated by women.
There is certainly a need for the government to commit to the development of rural women. Women's Month celebrations should be consistent with breakthroughs and women empowerment. Speeches should translate into strategies, monitoring of progress, outcomes and evaluations to ensure women succeed.