Zimbabwe is currently facing one of the worst economic failures in the world. While there are obvious consequences of the same, like high prices and unemployment, some indirect effects that have long term social consequences can also be observed.
In a sad case of how patriarchy has been adversely affecting the women in the country more, research finds that more and more women are being forced to offer sex as a means to access essential services.
WHO CONDUCTED THE RESEARCH?
Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) found that more than 57% of the women surveyed by them had been forced to offer sexual favours in exchange for jobs, medical care and even seeking placements at schools for their children.
Even here, the women in the informal sector suffered more. 45% of women had been asked for sexual favours to access services and 15% had used sex to gain employment.
The phenomenon has been labelled as sextortion. This entails women being the most vulnerable components of a crashing economy. 57.5% of female respondents found sex as the primary non-monetary bribe. This proves the fact that sex has become an essential component of the bribery culture of the corrupt state.
Women in professional spaces are not the only ones affected. Businesswomen are also not immune to it.
“At times you get asked for sexual favours in return for tenders or business. What makes the situation difficult, especially for state contracts, is how women in business are perceived by men in control of these processes. When they see a woman, for most of them sex is the first thing that comes to their mind. Hence women are sexualised and seen as sex-preneurs rather than entrepreneurs,” TIZ reports.
You might be wondering, are there any legal mechanisms in place to deal with this? Well, it is too paralyzed to help.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS?
Most respondents said that they find the justice system to be too masculine. More often than not, it is a part of the corruption chain. Thus, many survivors feared reprisals if they complained.
Zimbabwe ranks 158 out of 180 countries included in the Transparency International corruption perceptions index.
“Sex is a currency in many corrupt deals in Zimbabwe. Sexual harassment is institutionalised, and women have been suffering for a long time. There is a need to actively deal with all forms of sexual harassment in all sectors,” says the report.
The report raises serious concerns about the problems of the developing world. With no help, this will only worsen as time passes by. Swift action is required to deal with these situations.