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Women in Zimbabwe fight gender discrimination against the backdrop of the epidemic

HARARE, Z imbabwe (AP) – There are very few female truck drivers in truck imbabwe, but Molly Manace does not like to be singled out for her gender.

“It has always been known as men’s work, but do not say that I am a woman driver. We are just drivers, we do the same thing, ”said Manace, 31, the driver of the imb imbabwe truck whose income helps care for relatives who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19.

In driving trucks, fixing cars, and encouraging girls with disabilities to find their place in society, women in imb imbabwe refuse to be described by gender or circumstance, even though the epidemic strikes them the most, causing additional burdens. As International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on Monday, Zimbabwean women celebrate the progress they have made in combating discrimination in the workplace and recognize the need for more effort.

In many cases, Zimbabwean women have become leaders in helping this troubled South African country cope with the double trauma of COVID-19 and its continuing economic deterioration.

However, many women say that it is not easy to achieve equality or professional recognition; they are often reminded of the traditionally obedient role of women in the tradition imbabwe.

“As soon as they get home, they expect you to cook, they expect you to do the laundry, all the housework, you have to do it. “It’s a challenge,” Manatsen told the Associated Press as he prepared to travel 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles) to the African port of Durban. She is the only female truck driver with 80 drivers, she said.

Memory Mukabeta, 37, runs a car repair shop, a craft traditionally regarded as a men’s domain. Like Manatse, she is helping support her extended family these days, whose livelihoods have been affected by the limitations caused by the virus.

“Some of them are male relatives, they have no other jobs, so I take care of them,” said Mukabeta, who said he sometimes had to close his business with closing rules.

After a devastating renaissance that saw an increase in COVID-19 infections and deaths in December-January, the Zimbabwean government began easing restrictions and businesses trying to recover. However, it could be a longer way to resume women-owned businesses, especially in male-dominated areas due to prejudice, Mukabeta said.

From the moment he answers the phone, many customers doubt his abilities, he said.

“They expect the man to respond,” she said. “You have to convince them. “They will ask me so many questions, they will doubt me,” he said when he unveiled the truck damaged in the accident, which needs to be repaired.

On paper, Zimbabwe has progressive laws guaranteeing women’s rights at work and at home. The country signs international treaties promoting gender equality. Lack of implementation, as well as cultural experiences that reinforce inequality, mean that women, who make up 52% ​​of the 15 million population, are lagging behind in education, health, and employment, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.

The UN Women predicts that “8 million more women than men will be plunged into extreme poverty” in sub-Saharan Africa by 2021.

Although the epidemic has hit women hardest, “instead of whining, women are showing their resilience,” said Florence Mudzingwa, whose organization, Hope Resurrect Trust, provides girls with disabilities with the skills, equipment and confidence to make their way around the world. despite their gender և disability.

Mudzingwa, a digital marketing և life coach, works from his wheelchair during the epidemic, saying he only needs his computer tablet, reliable internet and brain. He used Whatsapp to encourage girls with disabilities to sell items such as face masks to set the table for their families during the epidemic.

“It simply came to our notice then. They say. “If he works, we can work too.” “This is not a time for self-pity, being a woman ը a person with a disability should not turn us into charities,” she said.

Truck driver Manatse says that women’s recognition, respect and equality are unlikely to appear on a silver platter in such a patriarchal society as imb imbabwe, although women continue to prove their ingenuity during the epidemic.

“We have to fight,” Manatse said. “When we struggle, we will certainly find something; one day they will recognize us … that we are no different.”

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