IT IS agreed that women play an important role in the economy of any country, making their contribution vital.
Though most of the women carry out their economic activities on a small scale, it is the totality of these activities that add value to the economy.
At household level, women have risen to the financial challenges and they engage in business ventures to supplement their husbands’ incomes.
In some cases, women are the sole breadwinners and heads of their households and so the burden to fend for their children falls squarely on them.
That is why day in and day out, they toil, in an effort to earn a living.
However, despite this, we know the hurdles they face, like the lack of finances to keep their business ventures running as well as lack of knowledge.
Some of the hurdles are peculiar to women only, such as the demand for collateral by some banking institutions despite the fact that women are the more disadvantaged in property ownership.
A number of women fail to access finance because, in a number of cases, they lack the collateral demanded by the banks.
While banks may be justified in their demand, it is such prerequisites that hamper empowerment efforts for women.
And yet we know there are more women struggling to make a living than men and the markets and the streets provide us with a better example of this.
We see these women leave their homes everyday early in the morning to buy merchandise at Soweto market for resale at their markets.
It is also, for example, said there are more women small-scale farmers than men and generally, it is also a fact that there are more widows than widowers.
In alleviating the suffering of women, Government has put in place a number of measures to help them earn a livelihood while they are contributing to the economic growth of the country.
In realising the challenges of women, Government places them at its heart so that they can benefit better from its programmes.
It is in view of this that Vice-President Inonge Wina directed the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development to consider empowering more women among the youth with the motorised tricycles.
Mrs Wina was speaking when she officiated at the launch of the motorised cargo tricycles youth empowerment scheme.
The first 100 motorised cargo tricycles are meant for youth-led co-operatives and it was Mrs Wina’s emphasis that more female youth be considered in the disbursing of the tricycles.
We wish to commend Government on its deliberate move because it is in line with efforts to empower women.
We want to say that the empowerment of women should capture them at their youthful stage so that they grow their skills while earning a livelihood.
Gone are the days when it was argued that girls would get married and so it was unimportant for them to go far in school. Today’s world demands that girls attain a high level of education because with it comes a level of independence.
But where opportunities for education seem to elude the girl-child, empowerment programmes like youth empowerment scheme are able to redeem some of them.
We want to believe it is with this in mind that Mrs Wina made the directive to the co-operatives to consider empowering more women and this is also in line with the women empowerment programme.
We urge Government to continue with such efforts of empowering women at an early stage so that they grow their businesses and contribute to the growth of the nation.
We advise to the beneficiaries of such empowerment programmes to prove that they are worth of the help they receive.
Government procures what it gives them at great cost and so they have the obligation to show appreciation by working hard to improve their lives and the communities in which they operate.