8 March 2022
This Women’s month of March 2022, we feature Mrs. Esther Gunda (EG), the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) National Women’s representative as she unpacks the significance of International Women’s Day, a day celebrated annually on the 8th of March across the globe. ZIMTA just like most progressive entities adopted the 50:50 gender policy, to ensure the presence of gender main streaming.
ZIMTA: What is your understanding of International Women’s Day?
EG: International Women’s Day is a United Nations-sanctioned global holiday which celebrates women’s contributions to society, raises awareness about the fight for gender parity, and inspires support for organizations that help women world over. IWD takes place on March 8 every year to celebrate women’s rights and inspire people to act in the ongoing fight for gender equality. International Women’s Day started in America in 1909, when the Socialist Party of America took to the streets to honor garment workers who had protested against inhumane working conditions the year before. The Socialist International, established Women’s Day in Copenhagen to celebrate those working for women’s rights and universal suffrage.
ZIMTA: What do you think of Women’s Day theme of 2022?
EG: The International Women’s Day theme for 2022 is #BreaktheBias, which highlights the importance of challenging biases and misconceptions in the interest of creating a more inclusive and gender-equal world. The UN also issued a 2022 theme: “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.” The UN’s 2022 theme celebrates girls and women who are leading the charge toward a more sustainable future, and climate change response efforts.
ZIMTA: What is the role of women educators in the fight against climate change?
EG: Education is a critical agent in addressing the issue of climate change. Education can mold people by changing their attitudes and behavior and also helps them to make informed decisions. Every day in the classroom, our female educators interact with a lot of young people who can be taught about the impact of global warming and how we can sustainably adapt to climate change. It is this power that we yield as educators, that can be the driving force in reclaiming our environment and planet.
ZIMTA: Speaking as a women’s representative in the National Executive, how best can the union attain 50:50 gender parity?
EG: When it comes to elections, I have witnessed women shying away from top positions. The best way forward is for us as women to step up, be bold and challenge our male counterparts. Women can do what men can do, or even better. There is need for us not to fear when it comes to taking up leadership roles. Women constitute 60% of ZIMTA members and this should also be representative on the percentage of women in leadership roles. We have to believe in ourselves as women and as the saying goes “nothing for us, without us” should be the slogan of the day.
ZIMTA: Any words of encouragement for other women to take up leadership roles?
EG: Fellow women, colleagues let’s stand up and take leadership roles in our societies, organisations and workplaces. The world need more women in leadership roles in order to balance up roles, women are more in numbers in our country but, very few are leaders. Organisations like ZIMTA have a responsibility to lobby for the creation of better policies and opportunities for women empowerment, let’s take part and join the campaign. As women we need the support of men and other women in order to step forward and overcome the habits holding us back from taking up leadership positions.