About 20 women this weekend attend the first ‘Women in Conversation’ meeting hosted by Jewel Magazine and Her Zimbabwe to discuss the topic of women in entrepreneurship.
The vibrant panel consisted of Jewel Magazine Founder and Managing Editor, Tsitsi Mutendi, National Arts and Merit Award (NAMA) winning mbira artist and singer, Hope Masike, and motivational speaker and independent financial advisor, Kudzai Mubaiwa. Moderation of the conversation was conducted by Fungai Machirori, Founder and Managing Editor of Her Zimbabwe.
A very informal session, the conversation took the audience through the panelists’ personal stories of entry into their chosen fields.
“I began to think about setting up Jewel Magazine after the stillbirth of my first daughter, Ropafadzo,” recounted Mutendi of the journey to setting up what is now one of Zimbabwe’s most successful magazines. In 2011, Mutendi gave birth to a child who had died a few days earlier in her womb due to strangulation via the umbilical cord. It was in the days of recovery from this loss that she began work on Jewel.
Masike, the last born in a family of nine, humorously shared her journey.
“People would have wanted me to do something they could understand,” stated the musician who might have ended up an accountant had her strong will to become an artist succumbed to societal pressures around her.
Having studied fine arts, then entered fashion design, Masike said it was after a HIFA performance by Kinobe that she stood on the empty Global Stage and decided that she too wanted to become a performer.
Mubaiwa shared a journey which involved quitting her job in the banking sector during the difficult mid-2000s in Zimbabwe.
“In order to move forward, I decided to identify the existing gaps in my field, as well as the things that I enjoyed doing, which could go towards filling those gaps,” said Mubaiwa. “At first, it seemed like I was going backwards, but I decided to give my dream a chance.”
A truly candid conversation, these women spoke about everything from the highs of their successes, to the not so high places that anyone in entrepreneurship visits; self doubt, financial struggles, fears and overestimation of success.
A wider conversation followed the panelists’ discussion with women voicing their issues and challenges with getting into self-enterprise as well as ‘fitting in’ to formalised women’s spaces and structures.
Here are just few quotes that were particularly interesting from the audience’s participation;
– “We network in all the wrong ways. While we are sitting in workshops and conferences, men are networking in bars and at golf tournaments.”
– “Every time you speak your truth, you are going to offend at least 20 people.”
– “Women are not wired to think like a businessman.”
– “Sometimes thinking absurdly can get you where you want.
Food for thought for all!
Keep watching the Her Zimbabwe and Jewel Magazine sites and pages for more information about the next conversation.