‘ZIMTA believes in female teacher empowerment’

The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) Chief Executive Officer Dr Sifiso Ndlovu has said it was progressive for the Government to promote female teachers to leadership positions as 60 percent of the teaching profession are women.

There are approximately 144,000 teachers in Zimbabwe, of which about 86,400 are women.

In a message to commemorate Women’s Month, Dr Ndlovu said his organisation believes in female teacher empowerment as guided by its organisational mandate of promoting gender equality and equity in the association, the educational sector, and in all spheres of society.

He said this is followed through in the various strategy plans where gender mainstreaming is a key focus area in major activities, projects, and employment, which sets up the policy framework on which to base women’s empowerment.

“At the Government level, we are noting good progress in the promotion positions as more and more women are rising to positions of leadership,” said Dr Ndlovu.

“The ideal situation will be that this mirrors the demographic composition of the teaching force, that 60 percent of school leaders should be women.”

He said the association also strongly believes that spouses must be deployed to the same stations or at least within range of each other if opportunities are not available at the same school.

“We have lobbied for this and now want this to be codified as part of the recruitment policy for it to be monitored for compliance,” said Dr Ndlovu.

On empowering women as an association, he said ZIMTA already has gender focal persons in all their structures and these are called “Women Teacher Representatives” and are elected by women delegates at properly constituted meetings and conferences.

Inspiring inclusion may mean different things to different individuals, said Dr Ndlovu, adding that ZIMTA’S inspiring inclusion would mean that women are empowered, educated, involved, mentored, and included in the trade union work.

He said ZIMTA recognises and holds in high esteem the fact that women teachers remain eager and are willing to be included in union activities, union advocacy and solidarity work.

“The ZIMTA constitution provides for women quota in the presiding structures and sectoral structures like teacher level representation, the inclusion of women is an ongoing phenomenon, which has been intentional and strategic because, we realise that women have the interest and potential that is needed to take the profession to higher levels,” he said.

Dt Ndlovu said women teachers in ZIMTA want the employer to include them on the decision-making table as they decide their salary packs and other work-related benefits so that they are not economically left behind in a fast-changing economy and world driven by hyperinflation and fast-moving exchange rates.

According to Dr Ndlovu, better pay for women teachers is a form of inspiring inclusion and there is no better way of including women teachers in economic development, which beats awarding them economic empowerment in the form of a better salary.

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