Women’s Conference 2019

Introduction: The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) meet again for the annual women’s conference in 2019 to celebrate the woman as an agent of community transformation. The organisation has been holding women’s conferences as part of its broader goal of achieving a free, empowered and prosperous citizenry. Women form the bulk of the HRT membership, and it is critical that as the women come together under at St Michael’s and All Angels in Mbare, women should be richer and more empowered, able to interpret key issues affecting them. These talking points highlight the guiding principles and issues that we must address as HRT women.

  1. WHY ARE WE HAVING A WOMEN’S CONFERENCE- the HRT wants to strengthen the women’s voice on issues affecting them.  To motivate women to be high achieves at individual level, with the main goal being to free women from all forms of oppression. Our major thrust is to achieve highly liberated women who have the capacity and mentality to use the full potential that God has deposited in them.  
  2. WHO IS THE HRT- The organisation was established in February 2008 in Mbare before spreading to the rest of Harare Metropolitan Province. The HRT’s community work is driven by citizens, among them widows, single women, married people, youths, the elderly, those living with disabilities and many others. The HRT is the Resident.
    1. The HRT wants the women to be grounded on issues affecting them. If they are grounded, it means they have the agency and capacity to contribute to discussions on their issues, and they can share their thoughts and aspirations without depending on a few people in the society. 
  3. Challenges faced by women at household level and in the Community- These include;
    1. Society is experiencing illegal abortions, backyard deliveries and nurturing of orphans and socialisation of children in the absence of most men. 
    1. Women are struggling to have clean potable water; they are being bullied at community boreholes and the girl child is being abused at boreholes because a lot of men think that women are there for entertainment.
    1. They are also struggling to get sanitary wear because of the socio-economic hardships. Women are facing gender based violence but they fear to report those issues to the Police or family members.
    1. During community meetings when women raise their voices, there is a tendency by patriarchal men to silence them through drowning their voices or making crude remarks to make them feel inferior. The HRT has observed that when doing our City of Harare budget meetings the council officials who lead the budget formulation processes are mainly composed of men. 
  4. Key positions in Council are occupied by men. For example we have not had a substantive woman Mayor with most departments being led by men. Does it mean that there are no competent women out there to take up leadership positions? 
  5. Concluding Remarks- the HRT is saying that women issues are best talked about by women themselves. Men can complement the women.  The women understand their issues, and they are the ones who have the needs and rights which are daily violated.  The high cost of living and the shortages of water affect women more than men. Women within the HRT are highly organised, and they can be trained to become agents of community transformation, but to achieve that there is need to continue to mass mobilise.

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