By John Manzongo
The First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa has urged women in leadership positions to use their influence to uplift fellow women.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women underway here yesterday, the First Lady — who travelled in her capacity as the patron of Angel of Hope Foundation and the country’s leading advocate for women and girls’ rights as well as philanthropist — said in most instances, women were each other’s obstacles.
“As you know, Angel of Hope back in Zimbabwe is working very hard to uplift the lives of women and the United Nations Secretary-General has urged women to work very hard to help other women.
“We have women in rural areas and in urban areas.
“Women in rural areas face challenges such as health, transport, water and sanitation and this forum is trying to encourage women in leadership positions to go down to the people, bring awareness, encourage them to work for the benefit of other women.
“We find that for example in elections where a woman is facing a male contestant, other women will vote for a male.
“We are saying to the women, rise up to the occasion and support women folk,” she said.
The First Lady said Government must chip in and assist women at grassroots level.
“They (women) should work in harmony and form groups where they start projects. It is difficult for financiers or governments to support individuals, but when women are in groups, it becomes easy and viable.
“Women should learn to work together, respect each other and stand up for each other.
“We have women presidents and vice presidents and that should be easy for us to push our concerns,” she added.
“We now want to talk and educate our Zimbabwean boys as young as those in Grade 6 to respect girls and see them as sisters. We will also enhance women’s involvement and urge them to work hard as compared to folding hands and waiting for help.
Zimbabwean women are hard working and I know if they are given enough support, they will thrive,” she added.
The First Lady is accompanied to the meeting by Senate President Mabel Chinomona, Minister Monica Mutsvangwa and Ministers of State Apollonia Munzverengi, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka and Monica Mavhunga.
Meanwhile, as our Bulawayo Bureau reports, the First Lady on Monday urged women in Bulawayo and Matabeleland South to enhance their knowledge of inheritance law and property rights for them not to be disinherited in the event that their husbands die.
The First Lady came up with the programme, which she is taking to all the country’s provinces, after realising that relatives cheated women out of their inheritance following the deaths of their husbands.
Scores of women turned up for the programme at Bulawayo’s Large City Hall.
In a speech read on her behalf by Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Cde Jennifer Mhlanga, the First Lady said she was moved by the plight of widows and children.
In Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province, the First Lady again represented by Cde Mhlanga, said a number of widows were losing their properties in inheritance disputes due to lack of knowledge of the law.
“We have gathered here today to interface on the inheritance and property rights issues that are occurring among us in the country,” she said.
“This platform has been created specifically for you to be educated, to engage you and to come up with solutions which are sustainable.”
Speaking at the same occasion, Matabeleland South Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Cde Abednico Ncube applauded the First Lady for initiating the programme.