‘Gender disparities hamper women advancement’

BY PHYLLIS MBANJE

THE persistence of gender disparities is short-changing women and hampering their advancement in attaining positions of influence, stakeholders have said.

Speaking at the AMH Conversations leadership series, which was a precursor to the Women’s International Day (IWD) commemorations held annually on March 8, Cheryl-Jane Kujenga, Adcorp Holdings Limited chief financial officer, said a patriarchal society made it difficult for women to scale the ladder to leadership positions still dominated by men.

“We do not have a critical mass of women to change the dominance of men in leadership roles,” she said.

She challenged women to grab whatever existing opportunities and parents to ensure the girl child was educated enough to realise full potential in every area of life.

Speaking at the same event running under the theme Breaking the Second Glass Ceiling, the human resources and communications director at cement maker, Lafarge Zimbabwe, Precious Murena-Nyika, said her company had adopted a policy of inclusion and diversity which gave women a fighting chance to make it to top positions.

“As women, we should be able to overcome our challenges and not use (the glass ceiling) as an excuse to give up. A woman should never feel guilty about opting to go to work than being at home,” she said.

AMH managing director, Kenias Mafukidze said the country was rebooting for greater growth and women should be part of the movement.

“As AMH, these conversations are a way of recognising the immense work done by women,” he said.

Meanwhile, the discussion also touched on raising strong women who can withstand societal pressures with most women professing that society was not sympathetic to their specific circumstances.

“Young girls should be nurtured in such a way that they strive to be better. There has to be strategies in place to make that a reality,” Womens Affairs ministry secretary Ruth Chitiga, told guests at the event.

Women also highlighted that without the willingness of those in positions to address gender disparity in workplaces, women would not progress much.

IWD’s theme for this year is Balance for Better and Tomorrow Countries, Across the World, will hold commemorations in honour of women.

AMH are the publishers of NewsDay, The Standard, Zimbabwe Independent, Southern Eye and also owns online radio and television station Heart &Soul.

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