Rural women bemoan financial exclusion
Tawanda Bote, recently in Chikomba
Women in Zimbabwe’s rural areas have bemoaned lack of access to bank credit loans for capital to start businesses.
The concerns were expressed by rural women who attended a financial literacy workshop in Chikomba recently. The workshop was organized by a local non-governmental organization, ROSA CARE, in collaboration with Young Women Christian Association Zimbabwe.
In an interview with ZTN, ROSA CARE programmes director, Joseph Mazenge said patriarchy has historically led to the exclusion of women from development projects but it is high time they are capacitated.
“After having carried out our needs assessment, we realized there is one grey area in women’s empowerment which is a result of our patriarchal society that left women out of many community development projects.
“So we are here to train women at grassroots level about managing finances so that they can be able to start their own income generating projects,” he said.
Some of the women who participated in the workshop complained about stringent requirements for accessing bank loans.
“We wish banks would make requirements for borrowing money more lenient for us rural women. Sometimes they ask us for collateral of properties but most of us do not own any properties and that continues to be a hindrance to our empowerment,” said Mercy Chikadaya.
Another woman said more assistance should be given to women if they are to become empowered.
“For us women in rural areas we wish government could assist us to be able to buy land or start projects to help us look after our families. What is being done is not enough,” said Esther Weshure.
Studies have shown that only six percent of women-owned businesses in Zimbabwe have been formalized enough to meet bank requirements for cash flow projections.
Banks often require collateral of property that most women, especially those in rural areas, do not have.