Zimbabwean women’s organizations called for greater inclusion of the fairer sex in all spheres of society, including decision making and leadership, so as to achieve gender balance in the country.
In statements to mark International Women’s Day on Friday, women educationalists and lawyers said there was need for women to also participate in key positions in all spheres of society.
Their sentiments were echoed by the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IBDZ) which weighed in with statistics showing that women remained disadvantaged in various infrastructure projects.
The bank said recent studies had shown that infrastructure projects were gender blind with women being less represented in employment in sectors including construction, water supply, sewerage and waste management and transportation and storage.
“While this speaks to the marginal employment of women in these sectors, it also explains why gender equality is marginally mainstreamed in these sectors and why infrastructure projects are gender blind,” IBDZ said.
However, the Forum for African Women Educationalists-Zimbabwe Chapter (FAWEZI) said statistics also showed that women and girls were breaking the glass ceiling and venturing into overwhelmingly male dominated STEM careers.
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and is meant to improve competitiveness in science and technology development.
It said according to the local examinations body Zimbabwe School Examination Council, more boys were enrolled for STEM at secondary school and tertiary institutions.
“The lack of balance in all education programs and industries, especially STEM, prevents women from taking up positions of power and influencing gender-responsive innovations to achieve the desired gender balance in Zimbabwe,” FAWEZI said.
It said many barriers women and girls faced revolved around a lack of sexual reproductive health knowledge on an individual, and a community level.
“Outdated ideas about women’s role being in the home as full-time care givers keep employers, especially STEM related ones, from hiring women or promoting them,” it added.
The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association applauded the appointment of the first woman Deputy Chief Justice – Elizabeth Gwaunza – in 2018 and said it was of paramount importance to continue integrating women into leadership roles.
“A look into the percentage of women within key decision-making positions within the country’s political strata shows that 31.5 percent of the National Assembly is constituted by women, 48 percent in the Senate and 13.3 percent in local government.”
“These statistics are self-evident of the fact that there is still need for gender parity within leadership roles,” the women lawyers said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday pledged to continue working towards the uplifting of women and girls, saying that the government would continue to work towards full gender equality and more empowerment for women and girls. Enditem
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