The First Lady Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa says although Zimbabwe has policies and legislation in place to protect the rights of women and promote gender parity, actualisation of some of the policies and provisions of the constitution is still a challenge.
The first lady was giving a keynote address at a female students’ conference in Harare today where some 120 female students are taking part.
The conference is aimed at discussing the challenges being faced by female students in tertiary institutions from all provinces of Zimbabwe.
Amai Mnangagwa noted that some rights of women, particularly female students, who are vulnerable by virtue of their dependence have not been actualised including gender-based violence, especially sexual harassment at college and during student attachment, limited access to sexual reproductive health services such as cervical cancer screening, family planning and contraceptives, affordability and access of sanitary wear and others.
She also noted accessibility of health facilities that accommodate students with disability and lack of information and education materials on sexual reproductive health for all females especially those who are visually impaired as some of the impediments to actualisation of women’s rights particularly students.
The First Lady said despite challenges being faced in realisation of women’s rights, it is pleasing to note that in terms of access to education at primary and secondary schools level, girls and boys have equal access and girls are performing at improved levels.
She said at higher education level women have access but there is need for women to be in critical disciplines, adding that there is need to ensure the education environment is conducive, especially for female students.