On the 8th of March 2022, UN Women and the British Embassy in collaboration with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe hosted the 4th Edition of the #HeForShe Impact Summit in commemoration of the International Women’s Day. The Summit brought together 64 participants mostly Diplomats and Business Leaders. It focused on 3 thematic areas namely: Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; Sexual Harassment, abuse and exploitation in the workplace and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): opportunities for Zimbabwean women in Trade.
A total of 7 leaders committed to the #HeForShe Movement during the Summit and they were welcomed by the UN Women Country Representative Ms. Delphine Serumaga. The leaders included: Prof. Emmanuel Mbennah – the Head of Mission for the Republic of Tanzania; Dr. Tajudeen Oyewale - UNICEF Country Representative; Dr Patrice Talla Takoukam – the Sub-Regional Coordinator of Food and Agriculture Organisation; Mr. Mucha Mkanganwi – the Vice President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and Mr. Raphael Chikukwa- the Executive Director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe
Below is a summary of recommendations that emerged from the Summit based on the 3 thematic areas.
Financing for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment
- Provision of training and skills for women in areas such as business, financial literacy, digital marketing and other skills.
- Providing leadership and mentorship to women in leadership positions
- Creation of a database indicating the various opportunities available for women
- Developing partnerships with the media to push the agenda of gender equality by facilitating synergies which allow women to tap into resources available to them
- Involving government in the creation of an integrated gender strategy and facilitating budgeting for gender equality
- Engage government to finance gender equality and women’s empowerment activities
- Sharing of best practices and practical tools of engendering gender equality and women empowerment in organizational projects and initiatives
- Mainstreaming gender in educational institutions
Sexual Harassment, abuse and exploitation in the workplace
- Policies should have strong anti-retaliation clause to avoid retaliation and safeguard the victim
- Gender champions and men should change conversations on Sexual Harassment issues
- Men should call out other men who harass women in the workplace
- Proper reporting mechanisms should be in place
- Training of management on Sexual Harassment issues is crucial and should be done cascading to lower management.
- Confidentiality is crucial when employees report any harassment.
- There is need for increasing the number of women in senior management of corporates in order to increase the levels of organisational accountability in the prevention of and responses to sexual harassment
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): opportunities for Zimbabwean women in Trade
- There is need for the #HeForShe movement to lobby the government to make provisions for women who specialize in exports.
- Effective mapping of the spheres of influence that the #HeforShe movement can occupy in view of the AfCFTA.
- Government needs to offer incentives to suppliers in the local markets and also promote women to be service providers.
- There is need for information on AFCTA to be presented in a format and language that is understood by a diverse audience including women in rural areas.
- ZimTrade should be capacitated to champion dissemination of information on AfCTA more effectively.
- Influencing and expediting the development of the Women in Trade protocol.
- Adoption of a multi-sectoral approach through education and networking of different business groups around issues of AfCFTA.
- Adult literacy should be promoted so that women are empowered to take leadership positions and transcend, for example, “from selling bananas on the streets to selling solar panels.”
The 4th Edition of the #HeForShe Impact Summit was hosted with funding from the European Union through the Spotlight Initiative to end violence against women and girls. The Spotlight Initiative is a global partnership between the European Union and the United Nations. It is funded by European Union.