Saturday, September 18, 2021

Red flags raised over gender-biased Covid-19 taskforces


Selina Maridza

Virginia Njovo

The Women Coalition of
Zimbabwe (WCoZ) Masvingo Chapter has expressed displeasure at the composition
of the provincial taskforces set up to fight the spread of coronavirus, saying
those structures do not reflect the quest to increase women’s representation in

This was heard during
WCoZ Masvingo Chapter health cluster stakeholders meeting held on October 13 at
Mucheke Hall.

The meeting, which was
attended by many women including Masvingo Urban Ward 1 Councillor Selina
Maridza, sought to share thoughts about the gender dynamics of Covid-19 and to
discuss women’s involvement in efforts to fight the pandemic.

“We are concerned that
women are yet again underrepresented in the provincial taskforces that were put
in place to fight Covid-19. This is reflective of the wider societal gender
injustices that we face every day and that we seek to end.

“We all agree that we
need to support each other so that we are able to take positions in key decision-making
structures. The Covid-19 pandemic affects everybody in society regardless of
gender so it is important that women get fair inclusion in all decision-making
processes,” said WCoZ Masvingo Chapter Chairperson Joyce Mhungu.

The Masvingo Provincial
Covid-19 Taskforce, which is chaired by the Minister of State for Provincial
Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira, comprises eight subcommittees including
the Risk Communication Subcommittee which draws its membership largely from the
media that in turn are dominated by males.

WCoZ Masvingo health
cluster member Elizabeth Ndlovu said women had to be prepared to compete for
their rightful place in all processes as nothing would come their way on a
silver platter.

“We have to stand up
for ourselves and push for our own involvement in decision-making structures.
More importantly, women have to support each other in such processes as
elections because that’s where primary influence emanates,” said Ndlovu.

This was supported by
another cluster member Fortune Sinamai who added that women had to strive for
self-improvement for them to be more competitive.

“A wise woman does not
wallow in despair. We have to work and improve our homes and families so that
we can inspire others. Leadership tends to be easier for women who show
initiative and who demonstrate potential even at family level,” said Sunamai.


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