The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) adopted the gender policy. The policy highlights the following:
There is a need for conscious strategies to eliminate gender inequality within the organisation and broader society which takes specific measures to promote women leadership and address inequality in the workplace.
Development and empowerment of women workers
Elimination of discrimination and stereotyping
Achieving women's full and equal participation at all levels of ARTUZ
To increase women's representation in leadership structures, ARTUZ should use the following guidelines:
- Additional ex-officio position on constitutional structures
- Portfolio positions
- Reserved seat for women
- Quota system including fixed and proportional representation
- District and provincial structures.
As part of the way forward all provinces should identify particular barriers in their own structures and contexts and take into consideration the following:
- Transport at meetings and timing of meetings
- Challenging stereotypes about women as leaders
- Developing mentorship programmes
- Creating a supportive and encouraging environment
- Implementing a gender based violence and sexual harassment policy
- Education on gender issues
- Leadership training
- Promoting the sharing of home and family responsibility between men and women
- The policy has emphasis on the following:
- Building Gender Structures
- Education and Empowerment
- Gender Equality in the Union
- Parental Rights and Children
- Health and Safety
- Participation of Women in Collective Bargaining
- Fighting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation
- The implementation framework is clearly stated together with the monitoring and evaluation strategy.
In a nutshell
While women constitute about 67% of teachers in Zimbabwe, leadership structures are predominantly male from school heads of departments, school heads, inspectors up to the top of education sector. In addition, unions' structures reproduce the sexual division. Women are confronted by barriers, which impact on their participation in the union, which partly explain the lower representation of women in union leadership structures which sees some of the nominated females for executive posts withdrew their nominations and those accepted losing the election due to lack of trust from their counterparts. The policy also mentioned the role of sexual harassment in discouraging participation cannot be discounted. Many women are completely discouraged from union activities since they are immediately "approached" by male comrades and feel that they are not treated as comrades but as sex objects.
ARTUZ gender and social welfare office will partner with other willing unions and organisations in some of its programs stated in the policy to raise awareness in the country and Africa at large.
Source: Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ)