MDC-T legislator Evelyn Muzungu Masaiti yesterday blasted the Local Government ministry for conducting demolitions of houses during the rainy season saying this affected women and children most.
Masaiti raised the issue during a sitting of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development chaired by Zanu PF Goromonzi West MP Biata Nyamupinga where Local Government human resources director Erica Jones had appeared to speak on gender mainstreaming in the ministry. Her concern comes after six houses in Dema, Seke, were razed down for allegedly being built on illegal land.
“These demolitions affect women and children and I wonder if you consider the season in which you decide to demolish houses,” Masaiti said.
“It is now the rainy season and we feel it is not fair to demolish houses now because it is women and children who will suffer most.”
Jones told the committee that the ministry would soon unveil a national housing policy that would take into cognisance gender issues.
She said about 52% of women had benefited from nationwide housing projects targeting 16 508 people.
However, she said there was a disparity when it came to gender equity in terms of jobs in the ministry where the construction industry did not employ many women because of perceptions that they were not strong enough for the job.
“Only 7% of senior managers at local authorities are women and only 20 out of 80 board members at local authorities are women,” she said.
Director of human resources in the Mines and Mining Development ministry Hamandishe Chenyengetere admitted that there were discrepancies in involvement of women in mining activities as well as enrolment of girls to take up mining courses at the Zimbabwe School of Mines.
Chengetere attributed this to poor performance of girls in science subjects and reluctance to employ women in mining ventures due to that they fell pregnant.
But, Nyamupinga said there was no excuse to deny women employment at mines because they fell pregnant, adding pregnancy was only for a period of nine months.