Final Papers of the 2019 National Symposium on Inclusion and Equality in Zimbabwe


The new Government in Zimbabwe (GoZ) launched the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) in October 2018. The TSP is government’s main strategy to revive the country’s
economy. The policy document also explains the government’s commitment towards human development, and this includes mainstreaming gender equality in all sectors. The paper analyses the effectiveness of the TSP in promoting gender equity and equality, with specific focus on female traders in the informal sector. The primary data was collected from a survey that was carried out in Harare, targeting female traders engaged in informal economic activities such as wholesale and retail trade like fruit and vegetable vending, cross border trading, the selling of second hand clothes or small grocery (tuckshop) and canteen businesses.

Those we surveyed were carrying out these activities within Harare Central Business District (CBD) and in Chitungwiza. The findings from the survey revealed that half the number of respondents (51%;n=45) were not aware of the TSP policy. The 45 women who were aware of the TSP policy, however, were not confident in the policy document’s effectiveness in addressing economic challenges faced by women. Some of the challenges affecting the women who participated in the survey included limited financial capital, lack of proper business training, macro-economic challenges affecting the economy and a patriarchal Zimbabwean society in which unfair demands continue to be made on women to manage families and households while also trying to run their businesses, especially as the states capacity to provide sufficient social services (in particular health, education and social protection services) dwindles. While the TSP contains statements and claims around promoting gender equality, they do not adequately explain how this will be achieved or even set targets on how gender equality will be achieved. The research paper concludes by providing some recommendations on how the TSP can be reviewed to ensure effectiveness in achieving gender equity and equality by incorporating the key needs of female small business owners in the informal sector.

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