Zimbabwe has joined the world in celebrating the International Day of Rural Women which is celebrated annually on October 15 to highlight the essential role that rural women and girls play in the food systems of the world.
The national theme for this year's celebration is "Women Empowerment: Key Element in Building Resilience to the Covid-19 Pandemic".
Addressing journalists in Harare, Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Jennifer Mhlanga said there was need to provide support to rejuvenate rural women's activities to include them in the development of the country.
Deputy Minister Mhlanga said women in rural areas should continue to be socially-empowered through provision of information, services, appropriate infrastructure facilities and knowledge on health, education and other social matters.
"Women constitute more than 52 percent of the population of Zimbabwe and more than half of them live in the rural areas," she said.
"Women and girls carry the heaviest burden of sustaining daily lives of the family which unfortunately is unrecognized or paid for. Yet they continue to contribute significantly to the economy through their participation in agricultural and other economic activities as well as food and nutrition security. In spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, rural women continue to be resilient.
She lamented the Covid-19 pandemic saying it has disrupted economic activities in rural areas as well as the agricultural supply chain and social cohesion.
"Let us join hands in celebrating the role and achievements of our women and girls in rural areas. As we do so, let us be passionate about protecting the girl child from all forms of gender-based violence. Let us all fight this menace that has eroded our girls' destiny," she said.