Mary Sandasi, the Women and Aids Support Network director told journalists last week that Zimbabwean women were still not able to negotiate for safer sex because of their upbringing.
“The way a child is groomed has effects on their future,” she said. “When a girl child is growing up she is taught to be submissive to her husband and boys grow up knowing they are more superior than girls.
“At the end of the day even those women who are well-resourced may not be in a position to negotiate for safer sex as they lack confidence.”
Sandasi said age differences in many couples also made it difficult for women to initiate the use of female condoms.
“Campaigns and marketing of the product is vital,” she said. “Training workshops for women are also of great importance for them to value themselves.
“It’s time women learnt to protect themselves than to wait for men to protect them.”
Patience Kunaka, the Population Services International (PSI) interpersonal communications manager said they had embarked on many initiatives to promote the use of female condoms.
“We have community outreach progammes where we are training hairdressers, barbers, church women and we are also working with sex workers at border posts and at growth points,” Kunaka said.
But she said more work had to be done to reach all parts of the country but the efforts were being hindered by lack of funds. PSI has mainly been using hair salons to distribute the female condom.