Govt encourages women to step into managerial roles

Sibanda urged women to utilise available funds to avoid reliance on men for support.

WOMEN Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development ministry permanent secretary Mavis Sibanda says women should step into managerial roles at companies to create better workspaces for them.

The call comes as women are underrepresented in managerial roles at company level in Zimbabwe.

Sibanda made the remarks at a women’s picnic get-together where she was the guest speaker.

The event, held under the theme Stepping up for Inclusion, Empowerment and Equity, was hosted by beverages maker Delta Corporation Limited last Friday in Harare.

“I would like to appreciate Delta Corporation as an organisation that encourages women to take part in decision-making for a better life. This year’s event was organised to network women employed across Delta who are focused on engaging, inspiring and developing themselves to drive total business performance, as well as establish a strong reputation at work for women,” Sibanda said.

“The initiative is designed to empower women so that they can empower others and influence their environment, thereby widening the women’s empowerment network. We have been told that women constitute about 30% of 33% of the managerial staff at Delta. And I was impressed when I heard that,” she said.

Sibanda welcomed the fact that about half of Delta’s graduate trainees and apprentices are women.

The 2021 research by the National University of Science and Technology showed that less than 10% of managerial positions in Zimbabwe were held by women.

Added to this, despite more than 50% of women being informal players, this proportion greatly shrank during the period a company will be in existence.

According to the central bank’s 2022 Zimbabwe FinScope MSME Survey Report, there were more female owners in the startup phase at 69% versus 56% in the mature phase.

“So, my fellow women, excel. Don’t be afraid of anything. Just do your best and you will be picked from the basket as the best. The Constitution of Zimbabwe is very clear. The Constitution is progressive in terms of advancing women’s rights. The expansive bill of rights, and gender equality notion specifically elaborate the rights of women,” Sibanda said.

“Guided by the national gender policy and the broad-based women empowerment framework, my ministry is mentoring women in the main economic sectors such as mining, agriculture, tourism and manufacturing and various programmes are being implemented.”

She said the ministry also had financial instruments available for women which linked SMEs to development banks, financial institutions and micro-finance institutions.

Sibanda urged women to utilise available funds to avoid reliance on men for support.

The ministry administers two funds, the Women Development Fund and Zimbabwe Community Development Fund.

The Zimbabwe Women’s Development Fund advances small loans specifically to women. The Community Development Fund lends support to anyone, regardless of sex.

Financial institutions such as the Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank and the Small to Medium Enterprise Development Corporation are also funding female entrepreneurs.

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