HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsSexual harassment: Empower the girl child

Sexual harassment: Empower the girl child

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I received a lot of responses to the article I wrote last week on sexual harassment. I have decided that this week I publish the response by a reader who is a female lecturer at a local teachers college.

The writer did not want her name published for professional reasons.

If you empower the girl child you have empowered the nation, so the wise say. What you are saying Ropa is, we have failed to empower our girls as a nation.

In other words, we must as gender activists, lobby for gender empowerment workshops at all learning institutions in our country so that before these girls enter the workplace, they know their rights, because knowledge is power.

If we dont do that, I am afraid this abuse of female subordinates will never end.

I have been following your column and I am reading your story on sexual abuse of female journalists for the second time and I have said to myself: Ropa has a good cause, but she is failing to see where the problem is emanating from.

That is why I am saying let there be gender empowerment workshops in learning institutions, so that the girl child is empowered.

Sexual abuse of women is not only done in the media houses, but it happens at almost all workplaces and learning institutions. The question is: Why is it that women are the most vulnerable?
I would like to believe that it is because of the dependence syndrome that is embedded in us women that we cannot do it alone.

Stereotypes have taught us to rely mainly on men to the extent that we are afraid to fight for our own emancipation in whatever we do. Why am I taking this route in my argument? I want you to look critically at those young journalists that you are saying are being abused.

If you are objective in your analysis, you will find that most of those who are being sexually abused are not competent enough, not confident and instead of doing their work, they are busy trying to get the attention of their bosses or they want flashy lives they cannot afford.

I know you will consider me gender insensitive, but I am a mother of two daughters. We cannot help these vulnerable women by not telling them the truth.

I am not familiar with the newsroom, but truly speaking, do bosses in the newsrooms reject worthwhile news from students because their sexual favours have been rejected? Dont papers sell because of good stories?

If bosses reject what makes their papers sell and earn them good reputation then they are foolish. What I am saying is that our girls should work hard, produce good work that will never be rejected even by those loose bosses.

Sometimes bosses have no option except to accept that someone is good. Do you agree with me that there are students who are of no-nonsense character from the day they enter the newsroom and they are known for that?

These are the good journalists. What these journalists must know is that they are the ones who must fight against this sexual harassment and no-one else.

In my profession, you will be pained to see female student teachers in male lecturers offices on the pretext that they want assistance for this and that, but in actual fact, they would be trying to seduce the lecturers.

These same students are the lazy ones. They ask for extension of assignment due dates. They want extra handouts. They have lots and lots of excuses. In actual fact, they want extra attention and, as a result, some of the weak lecturers fall for these students.

One male lecturer was stunned when he went to supervise a married female student teacher. The student had not done her work. She knew she was going to fail so she pleaded with the lecturer so that he could ask for anything, anything and she was prepared to give it to the lecturer. Fortunately the lecturer was professional enough and he turned down the student.

I just want you to see how our young and lazy women can be victims of sexual harassment at the workplace. At some universities that are sprouting these days, some students pay lecturers or other people to write their assignments. In most cases, they are prone to sexual harassment.

I just want you to see the extent of laziness that has infected some of our women.

Let us not demonise men always. We must educate our young women to be proud of themselves, work hard, live within their means and get credit where they deserve. Look at beauty pageants and how they are being abused by their promoters! What for?

Because they want fame and to get rich fast. Why should they be abused if they are really beautiful? The problem is they are not empowered enough.
I would also believe that male journalists are also abused by the elite.

Female journalists should challenge bosses with their good work and earn their dignity because I dont believe that all female journalists are being sexually abused as you want to portray.

We must not frighten our girls by telling them that there is sexual harassment in the media. Rather we must encourage them to be competent enough, stand up for their rights and know what they want.

Girls and women stand up for your rights even if it means losing your job. If you give in to sexual harassment you will definitely be a loser. Feedback:rmapimhidze@newsday.zw

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