Columnists

E-commerce way to go for women

SHIKANDA Kawanga.

Analysis: SHIKANDA KAWANGA
UNLIKE yesteryears when Zambian women bitterly complained, justifiably, that they were being discriminated against, today Government and its stakeholders are keen to ensure that the womenfolk are empowered to bring about gender equality.Even though Government has been proactive in ensuring that women are empowered not all of them have benefited.
But what then can women do to help themselves as they wait to be empowered?
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) says electronic commerce (e-commerce) conducted through online platforms can be an easy and inexpensive way for women to trade globally.
The WTO observes that there is need for various governments to develop e-commerce as it has an impact on women.
According to a statement obtained from their website, trade can be a driving force for women’s economic empowerment by way of entering new foreign markets thereby expanding their businesses.
It is a known fact that mobility constraints are greater for women, particularly those with children hence technological developments are a viable empowerment method.
This is why the WTO says more needs to be done to allow trade to become an engine of wealth creation and poverty reduction for women.
For those who doubt if trade is really a viable source of income generation, it has been proven by various researchers as evidenced in the 2017 World Trade Report, which states that trade has helped create employment opportunities for women in many countries.
The report also states that trade creates job opportunities and is particularly beneficial for women who have traditionally received less education than men, as is particularly the case currently in many developing countries.
The WTO also disclosed that sectors involved in trading are large sources of employment for women, with exporting companies in developing countries employing more women than is the case for non-exporters.
It is a proved fact that when women are supported and empowered, society benefits. Their families become healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. In short, communities become more resilient.
This is why Zambia like many other countries is concerned about the situation of women. It is recognised that women and girls should be empowered to reduce poverty in families and the country as a whole.
It is a fact that the right to schooling, the right to make decisions both in the family and in the local communities can only be achievable if women are empowered.
Unfortunately as it is, society respects a person only if they are financially empowered.
Women discrimination still remains the most pervasive form of inequality and many organisations are still looking on best practices to bridge the inequality gap.
While it was discovered that empowerment of women is a cornerstone of developing a nation, the female folk should push themselves into various forms of e-commerce such as network marketing, and online trading.
Of course, this situation is not particular to Zambia but in many other countries. This is why the vast majority of the poor people world-wide are said to be women, who are also majority of the population’s illiterates.
Women need to be financially independent so that they, too, can effectively build their capacity to do something productive for themselves and, in the process help better a lot of the Zambian citizenry.
It is sad that even though women bear almost all responsibility for meeting basic needs of their families, they are systematically denied the resources, including information and freedom of action which they badly need to fulfil this responsibility.
This is why women should rise to the occasion and stop self-employment opportunities that e-commerce can offer.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail correspondent.

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