Govt disregards Constitution’s requirement for gender balance

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has rebuffed recommendations from the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) to take note of Constitutional provisions in the appointment of senior officials, it has emerged.

While commending government for its commitment to achieving gender equality by ratifying a number of gender-related international, regional and local protocols, the ZGC, in its latest report, said women remain under-represented in positions of leadership especially in government.

A survey carried out by ZGC shows that positions of power in the public sector are occupied by more men than women.

“It was noted during collation of the data that 68% of senior management staff in all government ministries are men while women constitute 32%,” said Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe, ZGC board chairperson.

The survey also established that in parastatals, 79% of chief executive officers were men while women constituted only 21%.

“In managerial positions in parastatals, men constituted 74% while women were 26%.

“The heavily skewed gender composition continues to manifest in the number of board members under various ministries as men constituted 65% while women only make up 35%,” the report said.

The Commission has noted that of all boards appointed since 2017, none has shown gender balance.

According to Sangarwe, her Commission has sent ‘advisory notes’ to all Cabinet Ministers after appointment drawing their attention to the Constitutional provisions around gender balance but to no avail.

“If anything, most recent appointments show a consistent trend to deliberately disregard gender balance as required by the Constitution.

“This trend cannot be allowed to continue and the Commission will continue to urge Ministers to ensure that we achieve gender balance in all State institutions,” Mukahanana-Sangarwe said.

The ZGC’s concern comes after reports that of the 38 hopefuls set to go for public interviews to fill in vacancies at the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZAAC) only six are women.

Of five High Court Judges who have been shortlisted for interviews to the Supreme Court, there is a single woman.