EDUCATED women are more vulnerable to gender-based violence (GBV) than their uneducated counterparts, Choice Damiso, a human rights lawyer with UNFPA, said at the weekend.
BY Ropafadzo Mapimhidze
Addressing hundreds of gender activists commemorating International Women’s Day in Marondera last Saturday, Damisa said educated women faced more domestic violence because men generally believed that is the only way to make them submissive or “fall in line”.
This year’s commemorations were held under the theme Make It Happen.
“Research has proved that men beat women because they have been socialised into believing that they are justified to do so,” Damisa said.
Publisher and CEO of Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) Rita Chinyoka, who was one of the panellists, said women in media as with other industries must have the right attitude and willingness to compete with their male counterparts in order to achieve their full potential.
“However, it seems here in Zimbabwe, we are doing better with three of the five media houses being headed by women,” Chinyoka said.
“The challenge is always about the choices women have to make which sometimes means sacrificing their careers. Even though women are well represented in media in Zimbabwe, they do not always take up the opportunities afforded to them.
“Fair gender portrayal in the media should be a professional and ethical aspiration, similar to respect for accuracy, fairness and honesty. Yet, unbalanced gender portrayal is widespread.”
She added: “The Global Media Monitoring Project found that women are more likely than men to be featured as victims in news stories and to be identified according to family status. Women are also far less likely than men to be featured in the world’s news headlines, and to be relied upon as ‘spokespeople’ or as ‘experts’.
“The way women are portrayed in media is also an issue of concern for us at AMH and to this end, last year in the Zimbabwe Independent, our business weekly, we profiled over 48 women from all sectors in an effort to highlight the amazing achievements of women and their contribution to our nation.
We produced the The Book of Zimbabwean Women to portray women in a positive way as well as inspire other women to make it happen.”
Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development deputy minister Abigail Damasane urged women not to leave a girl child in the custody of a man regardless of their relationship.
“You cannot leave a cat with cheese because it will eat it, ” Damasane said.
“The gender department is one of the most difficult sections of the ministry because it deals with some of the hardest issues affecting women and girls.”