Section 17 of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission act calls on the state to promote the full participation of women in all spheres of the Zimbabwean Society on the basis of equality with men, Zimbabwe Gender Commission chairperson, Margaret Mukahana Sangarwe has said.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting on women in leadership in the private and public sector, Sangarwe identified systematic barriers to gender equality and equity in all spheres of life in Zimbabwe.
“Evidence shows that out of 406 directors in the private sector 10% were women, out of 64 chief executive officers (CEOs) of companies on the stock exchange only three were female,
“Out of 103 chief executive officers of state owned parastatals boards were only 15 females and only 27% constituted of women out of 88 chairpersons,” said Sangarwe.
Meanwhile in the public sector, the same trend appears with only eight female permanent secretaries out of 26 and out of 26 cabinet ministers only 3 are women.
“This is also a regional issue revealed in the Women Matter Africa Report 2016, which showed that only 5% of CEOs in Africa are women,” added Sangarwe.
Women also bump into glass ceiling due to sexist and patriarchal ideologies that prevent them from getting higher posts in organizations.
“There are sticky floors that comprise of implicit patriarchal mechanisms that prevent women from assuming respectable and influential positions,
“Other challenges inhibiting women from climbing the corporate ladder include socialization which has preconditioned men as powerful and women inferior,
“These social perceptions towards men have made sexual harassment socially acceptable the work place as women are afraid to report such cases,” emphasized Sangarwe.
Sexual harassment intimidates and demoralizes women leaving them in fear and silence without confidence to pursue for higher positions.
Speaking at the same meeting, President of Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), Divine Ndhlukula said women don’t believe in themselves- the reasons why they backslide.
“Women should be trained to be confident to survive in the industry,” said Ndhlukula.