Women lawyers demand local councils to craft sexual harassment policies
By Letwin Mubonesi
Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) Director, Abigail Matsvayi has urged local authorities to craft sexual harassment policies to curb rising cases of work related abuse.
She said this during a workshop for local authorities and farmers held in Mashonaland West province recently.
The meeting is part of ZWLA’s countrywide advocacy through the Spotlight Initiative to curb sexual harassment in the workplace and it was done in partnership with United Nations Women and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development.
Matsvayi said those in positions of power should strive to ensure that their workplaces have sexual harassment policies and free for women.
‘‘As ZWLA, we are pushing for a national sexual harassment policy to be crafted. We believe that justice must be accessible and this can be achieved with sound policies against sexual harassment. The policy is yet to be drafted by the Justice ministry.
“ZWLA is pushing for public awareness of sexual harassment policies by community-based organisations, policymakers, and other players. We encourage reporting of sexual harassment cases to break the cycle of silence, and we need to act collectively and target colleges as these are hotspots for sexual harassment,” she said.
Hurungwe District Development Coordinator, Mr Andrew Tizora said, ‘‘Hurungwe has high prevalence rates of sexual harassment. It is rife. This is an unwelcome development that negatively affects our social fabric. We know sexual harassment is a cause of concern at workplaces including some local authorities.”
ZWLA has covered about 10 local authorities so far in disseminating information about sexual harassment at work and that it has to stop.
In Kariba rural, a community-based organisation, Tony Wayte, recently reported that over 100 schoolgirls dropped out of school due to early child marriages hence the women lawyers’ organization advocate for the crafting of sexual harassment policies to work not only at work places but everywhere.