Abigail Mawonde and Talent Chimutambgi
Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development Deputy Minister Abigail Damasane has challenged the Zimbabwe Staff College to embrace gender equity by enrolling more women at the Zimbabwe Defence Forces-run institution.
Addressing students undergoing Joint Command and Staff Course at the Zimbabwe Staff College yesterday, Deputy Minister Damasane said there was need to make the college environment conducive for women.
“I urge the administration here to make the environment conducive to have a 50-50 participation. For example, if a female lieutenant-colonel has a six-month baby let her come, make sure there is a baby centre and a baby carer who is a soldier from a health department,” she said.
Deputy Minister Damasane bemoaned the lower numbers of enrolment of women at the college.
“Charity begins at home, let me pose a question, how engendered is this Joint Command Staff Course Number 29? Of the 56 participants, how many males and how many females?
“I hope this discord is going to be addressed. Random search tells me that you have six women only. There is no task too heavy for a woman because if anything we have the gift of managing multiple roles,” she said.
Deputy Minister Damasane said Zimbabwe was committed to the achievement of gender equity.
“From the battlefields of the liberation struggle women and men fought side by side to show that we are equal partners. We can all contribute to the development of our country and we are able to tackle any duty.
“In view of that how can we talk about challenges? Just like the strive to achieve development, the agenda for gender equality and equity is work in progress for Zimbabwe,” she said.
She applauded ZDF for promoting women who already hold senior positions.
“In the same vein, I want to congratulate the Zimbabwe Defence Forces for their tremendous efforts in elevating competent women to top decision making positions although the defence sector was previously stereotyped as a male-dominated area.”