The Midlands State University Gender Institute in partnership with the Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation (CCMT) held a gender symposium on Friday the 16th of October 2020 at the University’s Gweru Main Campus. The Symposium which ran under the theme, “The Feminisation of the Mineral Value Chain” sought to explore and strengthen women’s contribution and involvement in small-scale mining activities.
In his welcoming remarks, the MSU Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business Development and Administration, Professor K H Wekwete commended the MSU Gender Institute and CCMT for collaborating and mainstreaming gender issues in the mining sector. “It is good to have such collaborations, that focus on bringing change to the mining sector. Any economic activities that exclude women, lead to conflict” he said.
Speaking during the symposium, MSU Gender Institute Director, Professor I Muzvidziwa highlighted the importance of gender equality in mining. Statistical data from collaborative research conduct by CCMT and the MSU Gender Institute shows that there are significantly more men than women involved in artisanal and small-scale mining activities. “We believe that women possess equal potential in mining to men, and it is through such research that we encourage women to overcome the stigma that mining is a male-dominated activity and be passionately involved in mining”, said Professor Muzvidziwa.
CCMT Director, Mr W Phiri, highlighted the need to adopt measures that help to curb resource-based conflicts in mining. ”As CCMT, we are concerned about exclusionary practices that lead to conflict. Conflict, in the long run, is counterproductive. It is in this light, that all stakeholders should make concerted efforts to ensure that resource-based conflicts are addressed decisively,” he said.
Presenting their research findings, Ms Gladys Balance, Ms N Maruzani from the MSU Gender Institute and Mr S Vengesayi from CCMT, outlined the need to give women an equal opportunity based on their skill and potential. “Women have capabilities to excel in mining, but as a result of the misogynist, discriminatory and masculine nature of the sector, this potential is not realised”, said Ms Balance.
In a paper titled, “Feminisation of Mining Trade Unions”, MSU Gender Institute lecturer, Mr T Mugodzwa explored the need to have a balance in trade union representation, so as to increase women participation in mining.
The symposium highlighted how women in the mining sector have been overlooked. Further research is being undertaken to establish a system that promotes gender equality in the mining sector.
Celebrating Women This March
Prof. Chipo Hungwe
Professor Chipo Hungwe is an Associate Professor and the Executive Dean of Social Sciences at Midlands State University. She comes from a Christian background and is the firstborn in her family. Professor Hungwe spent most of her childhood in Bulawayo although her rural home is in Chivi, Masvingo. She went to Townsend Girls High School and holds an undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology from the University of Zimbabwe. She attained her Doctorate (Sociology) in 2014 at the University of South Africa.
Professor Hungwe joined MSU in October 2002 as a Temporary full-time lecturer in the Department of Human Resources Management (HRM) and was confirmed in September 2003. She was appointed as the department’s Acting Chairperson in 2008, then Chairperson from 2010 up to 2016. She became a Senior Lecturer in 2012, before becoming an Associate Professor in 2016. She was appointed as the Executive Dean of Social Sciences in 2017.
Professor Hungwe is a member of the UN Women Spotlight programme National Civil Society Reference Group where she represents academia. The Spotlight Initiative was launched in Zimbabwe in 2019 and aims to help eradicate violence against women and girls by working together with various stakeholders in the country.
She is motivated by the quest to do better, be better and change the situation of women. She does not accept the existing order. She believes there is more to life than what women experience.
According to Professor Hungwe, ‘there is no limit to what one can do and be. It only depends on how much one wants to change their situation and what comforts they are willing to sacrifice to get there’.
Prof. Irene Muzvidziwa
Professor Irene Muzvidziwa, is an Associate Professor and Acting Director of the Midlands State University Gender Institute. She holds a PhD in Gender and Educational Leadership from Rhodes University, South Africa, M.Ed. and B.Ed. degrees from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, and a Diploma in Education from the University of Zimbabwe. Her areas of interest are gender, educational leadership and the creation of gender-responsive environments, women empowerment, gender mainstreaming and school-community partnerships.
Professor Muzvidziwa’s early experiences have had a strong bearing on her interest in understanding gender and the forces that deny women educational opportunities, leading to her passion for the creation of gender responsive environments. Her status as a teacher was achieved after a struggle. Her parents like most African parents did not consider educating girls as a good investment, they were not just educating their children but expected greater returns from educating their sons. Girls were mostly prepared for marriage. Hence, her education was cut short as early as form two. This came as a result of her elder brother deciding to take up industrial work at that level and thus according to her father’s view, it would not have been proper for a sister to be more educated than her brother. However, her learning experience from that level became more of a personal and an intellectual journey, that led her to search for the underlying factors which continue to limit girls and women’s progress and entry into decision making positions. The questions that preoccupied her mind were answered when she joined Waikato University to further her studies. A course in women and educational leadership greatly assisted her in developing an awareness of the problematic nature of gender and educational issues not only in third world countries but also in western societies.
Her teaching experience dates back to 1981 when she briefly worked as a pre-service teacher at a rural school in Southern Zimbabwe. Whilst doing her Masters, she became a Tutor at the University of Waiko in New Zealand from 1997-1999. She has over twenty (20) years of university teaching experience. From 2000 – 2003, she worked as a Lecturer and co-ordinator at the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU), then as a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, and as a Senior Lecturer and head of department in the School of Education, at the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) in South Africa, before joining Midlands State University.
She has taught and successfully supervised students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels including four PhD graduates. She has researched and published book chapters and articles in scholarly journals both locally and internationally. Professor Muzvidziwa has had the opportunity to research in New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe. She presented papers on teenage pregnancies, approaches to empowering women and men, and many others on equity issues.
One of her greatest achievements was to be selected as being the only researcher from Africa to present a research paper at the Oxford Round Table Conference in England, UK in August 2013, on Women Educational Leaders and how they use power to empower others. The conference needed only 15 participants from all over and she happened to be one of them. Professor Muzvidziwa is an editorial board member for the Annals of Modern Education and a reviewer of several peer-reviewed journals. She has been invited to be a guest of honour on several occasions including more recently at the 2019 International Day of the Girl Child commemorations held in Mkoba, Gweru on the 11th of October.
What motivates her the most is seeing the fruits of her hard work and determination, to google her name and read all the compliments and appreciations by Masters and PhD students who successfully completed their thesis and projects through her supervision and mentorship. Issues of Equality are biblical, and the word says: my people perish because of lack of knowledge.
Proverbs 16: 3 says commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.
Her encouragement to others is to have a positive mind, be willing to learn and adjust with an open mind.
Prof Doreen Zandile Moyo
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Academic Affairs
“You can do it. Work hard, put God first and enjoy life to the fullest. Be whatever you want to be and thrive to be unique!” Professor Doreen Zandile Moyo, Pro Vice Chancellor, Research and Academic Affairs.
Prof D Z Moyo, born in the provincial capital of Matebeleland South, Gwanda, is a shining example of an academic who has excelled in a world that is dominated by men and has also managed to break the so called “glass ceiling” that limits many women. Raised in a family of seven siblings, Professor Moyo did her primary education in Donkwe-Donkwe School in Kezi and Matshayisikova School in Bulawayo. She then proceeded to do ‘O’ and ‘A’ Levels at Mpopoma High School in Bulawayo.
Growing up she nursed the ambition of becoming a nurse but later changed her mind, deciding instead to become a scientist. “This decision came about after being motivated to do science subjects by Dr Khumalo, a Mpopoma High School former student who came all the way from London to deliver a motivational speech during prize giving day. This motivated me to take up Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology for my ‘A’ Level and since then I have never looked back. We were only three girls in a class of thirty students but that did not stop me from pursuing my dream,” said Professor Moyo.
From there she went on to enrol at the University of Zimbabwe where she majored in Parasitology and Microbiology and later graduated with a BSc Honours Degree in Biological Sciences and was awarded the University Book Prize. She briefly worked as a Research Assistant before embarking on further studies where she registered for a Master of Philosophy degree in Veterinary Parasitology under the Department of Paraclinical Veterinary Studies.
Professor Moyo also worked as a Research Fellow in the same department while pursuing a doctorate in Veterinary Parasitology. The sandwich programme involved periods of study at the University of Zimbabwe and Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Recounting those days and the amount of work she had put in so as to realise her dreams, Professor Moyo said,
“The work was challenging and I treasure those years when I would be out at 5.00 am collecting research samples from farms, sometimes as far as Goromonzi.” Her hard work paid off as she was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Veterinary Parasitology in 1999.
Professor Moyo worked briefly as a Research Officer at the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development in Harare before joining Midlands State University. She joined the University in 2000 as the founding Chairperson of the Department of Biological Sciences and in 2010 was appointed acting Director Research and Postgraduate Studies before being elevated to the position of Executive Dean in the same department. In 2018, Professor Moyo was appointed acting Pro-Vice Chancellor Research and Academic Affairs before her substantive appointment in December 2018. She sits in several University committees including Council and Senate. Professor Moyo is a past member of the Global Fund, Zimbabwe as Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education representative, Committee member of the Natural Resources Management Standing Committee. She is currently a member of the Southern Africa Research and Innovation Management Association, a member of the World Association of Veterinary Parasitologists, a Research Council of Zimbabwe reviewer as well as a ZIMCHE peer reviewer.
Speaking on the challenges that she faced and how she overcame them, Professor Moyo had this to say, “ I am a committed Christian and to me all things are possible through God. Life has many challenges but as a believer I have experienced God’s grace, love and guidance. Without God and my loving parents’ support I do not think I would be where I am today. In today’s world where lifelong learning is readily available, I urge other women to further their studies as it is never too late to fulfil your dreams.”
Professor Moyo is not only an outstanding academic but also a loving mother of three, two girls and a boy who mean the world to her and with whom she spends a lot of quality time with. Her hobbies include gardening, cooking and travelling.
Professor DZ Moyo has reached a stage in life that many women do not dream of reaching, but instead limit themselves and never reach their full potential. Hers is a life worth emulating, a life that tells the story of a little girl from the small town of Gwanda, who made it big in a world in which most women live in the shadow of their male counterparts.
The sky is indeed the limit irrespective of gender, race or ethnicity.
Prof Efiritha Chauraya
Executive Dean, Faculty of Education
Professor Efiritha chauraya is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Midlands State University. She is the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education, a position she holds since 14 December 2016. She was previously the Deputy Dean in the same faculty from July 2012 to 13 December 2016, having joined MSU in March 2005. Prior to joining MSU, she was Dean of Students at Bondolfi Teachers College from 01 October 2002 to March 2005. She had joined Bondolfi Teachers’ College as a lecturer on 01 September 1996. Having graduated from Gweru Teachers’ College in December 1986, she worked as a mathematics teacher at several secondary schools that include Mucheke High School (Masvingo), Chibaya secondary school (Masvingo) and Danhamombe secondary school (Masvingo). She was born in Zaka in 1962 and completed her primary education at Danda School (Zaka, Masvingo) in 1976 and her secondary education at Loreto secondary school (Silobela, Gweru) in 1980.
Prof Chauraya graduated with a doctorate from the University of South Africa in 2012. Her thesis is titled : ‘The Implementation of Gender Policy Programmes in Student Admissions in Zimbabwe State Universities.
Prof Chauraya has 24 articles in referred journals, (14 of these are to her own credit), 2 Research based books, 1 monograph and 4 book chapters. She has attended 35 conferences where she presented papers at some of them. She is an external examiner for DPhil students for the University of South Africa, University of Fort Hare and Nelson Mandela University. She is currently supervising 2 PhD students.
She has a keen interest in working with women and girls in rural and marginalized communities. Her research interest include gender and education, gender based violence, gender and development, and curriculum issues. In the book chapter ‘Breaking Boundaries’ in Tales of Womanhood Vol 1 (2018) she documents the great adversity she faced and overcame to be who she is. Her philosophy and motivator is that the woman has everything she needs within herself. What is needed is grit, hard-work, strength, tenacity and ambition. This is Prof Chauraya and she cannot be persuaded to think otherwise. As we are celebrating the Women’s Month of 2020 and its theme of the realization of women’s rights, her word of advice is summarized in the following quotes:
‘It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going” (Brian Tracy)
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves.
We have to step up as women and take the lead” (Beyonce).
The Midlands State University`s Department of Research and Postgraduate Studies in collaboration with the Gender Institute and supported by the Association of Commonwealth Universities has held a one-day workshop. The workshop was held at the Gweru Main Campus on the 7th of November, 2019 under the theme ‘Research Productivity and Career Advancement of Emerging Female Academics – PropEFA’.
The Research and Postgraduate Studies Executive Dean, Professor Laurine Chikoko said the workshop aimed at identifying gender related impediments that hinder research productivity of emerging female academics at Midlands State University and exploring ways of mitigating these challenges.
“We seek to identify and understand the main challenges that you are facing as emerging female researchers. Our ultimate objective is to identify potential solutions to address these challenges in order to overcome barriers and obstacles to research activities and career progression,” said Professor Chikoko in her opening remarks.
The workshop was facilitated by Professor Hazel Ngoshi who observed the need to eliminate gender blind and gender-neutral policies that work against the progression of female academics at the institution.
“We should worry about how the professoriate and the Executive are constituted in terms of gender. Emerging female academics need representation of their needs and interests at institutional level,” she said.
The Acting Director of the Gender Institute, Professor Irene Muzvidziwa made a presentation on research career and gender dynamics. She urged female researchers to know how to handle various situations affecting them and encouraged them to assert their presence in the academy by making a mark in the research arena.
“Approach is critical in gender related issues,” she said.
During the workshop, emerging female researchers shared a wide range of factors that impede their research productivity and career progression.
The workshop immensely benefited from the participation of senior academics. Professor Chauraya, Dr Dube and Dr Matsa shared their experiences and how they managed to make it as female academics. Senior male academics, Professor Viriri, Professor Mhiripiri, Dr Guyo and Dr Saidi made a commitment to support emerging female academics.
The Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) in Zimbabwe has joined the rest of the global community in commemorating the International Day of the Girl Child amid concerns that women’s contributions in society continue to receive little or no acknowledgement with regards to development due to cultural systems that perpetuate gender inequalities.
Ideas brought forward by women are often dismissed by society while many remain in the same position at their workplaces due to discrimination. Marginalization has also been noted in public toilets where condoms are made available for men yet sanitary pads are not available for women who do not choose to undergo menstruation.
Issues affecting the girl child were brought to the fore by the Acting Director for the Midlands State University`s Gender Institute, Professor Irene Muzvidziwa who was the Guest of Honour at the 2019 edition of the International Day of the Girl Child commemorations held on the 11th of October, 2019 at YWCA Centre in Gweru.
She called upon stakeholders to work together in coming up with strategies that seek to address challenges faced by the girl child and urged young girls to remain steadfast and focused in order to achieve their dreams.
‘Always have the urge to tell yourself that “I CAN do it!” and NEVER allow anything or anyone to draw you back. Remember women are the majority in Zimbabwe and always we will stand and say if you empower the woman, you have empowered the nation. Empowerment through education assists adolescents to make independent but positive decisions about their future,’ she said.
The commemorations included a march from Mkoba Shopping Centre to the YWCA Centre with students from Midlands State University, Mkoba Teachers College, Gweru Polytechnic, primary and secondary schools all participating. The International Day of the Girl Child is a day set aside to raise awareness among people about all forms of inequalities, discrimination and exploitation faced by the girl child.
The Midlands State University Gender Institute in partnership with the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) recently hosted a public lecture on sexual harassment aimed at raising awareness on gender and sexual harassment among students and staff at the institution.
The public lecture, which was held at the Midlands State University Gweru Main Campus on the 15th of October 2019 was also meant to conscientize the University community on the investigative role of the ZGC with regards to sexual harassment.
The MSU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Victor Muzvidziwa applauded the effort made by the Gender Institute to organise an event that addresses pertinent issues of gender inequality and sexual harassment which are becoming prevalent in today’s society.
‘I want to applaud the Gender Institute and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission for organising an awareness public lecture which addresses growing issues of gender inequality and sexual harassment in both private and public institutions and I hope it will go a long way in raising awareness and mapping the way forward for both our students and staff.
The Zimbabwe Gender Commission Legal and Investigations Officer Delis Mazambani addressed a number of key issues on sexual harassment which included teaching the audience how to identify cases of sexual harassment, how to report, where to report and also went a step further to also teach on how sexual harassment is perpetrated in cyberspace.
‘Sexual harassment is a complex issue and it ranges from offensive verbal comments with sexual innuendos, physical contact that is sexually suggestive, that is not welcome by the person concerned and it is also worthy to note that sexual harassment also occurs between people of the same sex for instance, a woman can harass a woman vice versa’.
She further explained that the Zimbabwe Gender Commission is not a women commission, but is there to serve the interests of both women and men in the society.
‘It is imperative to note that all cases of sexual harassment and domestic violence should be reported to your nearest police station, seek guidance from the university administration or raise the issue with the Zimbabwe Gender Commission and we want to assure you that we will thoroughly investigate the issue and bring the offenders to book,’ she said.
The issue of sexual harassment has become prevalent in institutions of higher learning as evidenced by the British Broadcasting Corporation documentary on sexual harassment entitled ‘Sex for Grades,’ where lecturers were demanding students to be intimate with them so that they get what are popularly known as ‘Sexually Transmitted Distinctions’.
Tariro NeGitare says women in the music industry, face many challenges that include stigmatisation, sexual abuse and are often denied, the much needed moral support and encouragement from their families.
Speaking while delivering a public lecture on Thursday 9 May 2019 at Midlands State University’s Gweru Main Campus, the multi-talented award winning female artist, musician, songwriter, mother, philanthropist and educator said, ‘there is a need to educate society on what it means to be a woman and to be gender sensitive rather than to be gender biased’.
Tariro also encouraged women that want to venture into music, to be bold and to believe in themselves.
‘When women want to follow their passion for music and pursue a career out of it, they need to start believing that they are indeed equal to men and can do the same things men do,’ she noted.
The lecture, which was organised the Music Business, Musicology and Technology (MBMT) Society, was held in the University Great Hall and sought to explore and educate members of the University community as well as members of the public on issues to do with gender and feminism in the Zimbabwean Music Industry.
Commenting on the public lecture, Chairperson of the Music Business, Musicology and Technology Department, Dr P. Matiure, commended the organisers and called on them to organise more lectures, of a similar nature in the future.
‘Women have always been anchors of our society, for example, taking the Shona idiom “musha mukadzi” which loosely translates to “a woman makes a home” is evidence enough of the importance and significance of women in our societies as they are the pillars of strength, care and love’ he said.
The MBMT Society patron, Mr P. D. Bajila, applauded Tariro for her humility, in agreeing to deliver the public lecture and share her expertise and experiences in the music industry.
#women in music
The Midlands State University Student Representative Council (MSU) in partnership with the Zimbabwe Gender Commission conducted a sexual harassment and gender based violence awareness campaign in Gweru on Friday the 28th of April 2017. The purpose of the awareness campaign was to encourage the public to adopt a zero tolerance approach towards sexual harassment and gender based violence not only at MSU but in all communities.
Running under the theme “Sexual Harassment and Gender Based Violence have no place at MSU”, the awareness campaign, the event was headlined by a march from Gweru Town Council which winded up at MSU Main campus.
The participants included SRC President Jorum Mukono alongside volunteers from the City of Gweru who joined the marching crowd in support of the awareness campaign.
Students from various clubs such as the Peer Educators Network, Leos Club and the Toastmasters came in their numbers in support of the campaign as well as to show their willingness to stand as a family in fighting sexual harassment and gender based violence.