Erica Jones – Zimbabwe

Erica Jones – Zimbabwe

Date: June 30, 2015
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When the national gender policy was introduced, every ministry had to have a gender focal person whose job was to write a circular and to distribute a copy of the national Gender policy, and to ask the staff to read. In 2009 I came to the Gender Links summit and I received the Gender Links institutional information and the barometer where I learned a lot about gender mainstreaming.

I am the director of human resources with the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing in Zimbabwe. I am also the gender focal person at the ministry. I took on this role because I realised that I had been a victim of gender bias in the workplace. I started reading and meeting more people at the Gender Links summit to help me understand the scope of gender mainstreaming.

We are taking what steps we can to allocate resources to gender equality, both within our organization, and in the work we do in the community. Half of our training resources and places have been reserved for women’s empowerment, even though they do not constitute half of the staff that the ministry has. That is just one step we have taken; there are several other concrete accomplishments to date.

We have put in place a sexual harassment policy that allows all employees to be able to report any incidents to any other member of staff. Furthermore, we have a policy that allows women to get the job first based on their merit, women are always are a given first priority. Additionally, we have a gender biased policy, where we ensure that some posts are reserved for women, if necessary as technical assists, and then we provide training for the women to do become artisans from the ministry.

Our biggest achievement is that the ministry now has gender as part of the permanent secretary’s performance agreement, and he is accountable to the president. The Minister has attended Gender Links summits to show his support to the gender movement. The Minister is leading from the grassroots. All employees are briefed on gender when they come to the office, as part of the induction process. The ministry has a gender library on site, and there is a gender CV that has the gender policy and the Gender Links Centres of Execllence training manual which is distributed to all the offices in the country.

We have identified women and men of good standing to become Gender Focal Persons. We look for individuals with good morals, as it is easy to convince them of the rightness of gender equality. These people have done so much to pioneer changing attitudes. People with a strong character are not afraid to express what is right when it comes to issues of gender. Through this, we have been able to extend our gender influence through the ministry.

The Gender Links COE process is the gender mainstreaming programme of choice that the Government uses, and the government has been advised that only the COE process should be used as a mainstreaming tool. The work of the gender focal person has been moved to the local authorities, and it is now mandatory for all the local authorities to have it as part of their key performance areas. This initiative has the full backing of the executive in all cases, and it guarantees we will make progress.



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