Zimbabwe – Gaudencia Goredema

Date: September 6, 2018
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“The iron lady who cornered patriarchy.”

Gaudencia Goredema works for Kadoma City Council a Health Information Officer. Kadoma City is about 141km west of Harare along the Harare-Bulawayo highway and is famously

known as the City of Gold due to its’ huge gold deposits. During the 2012 ZIMSTAT census Kadoma had a total population of 92 469 made up by 44 430 males and 48 039 females. The City of Gold is headed by an elected mayor and has a total of 17 elected councillors, each councillor representing each of the 17 wards. Kadoma City Council has five functional departments with each department having its gender focal person.

Goredema started working with departmental gender related issues way back in 2010. She is now greatly empowered in presentations and she has gained enough confidence and courage to stand even against men without fear. She currently knows that she can do it without any hassles. She now has the ability and is well equipped on the importance of gender mainstreaming activities and programmes.

Goredema confidently said, “I can come up with sustainable gender initiatives at my workplace. I am a person who is very approachable, so it is easy for me to drive for total change. I am quite familiar with situations which can lead to gender insensitivity. As a Health Information Officer all information and documents or programmes pertaining to gender issues pass through her office. By the time the health department issues get to the gender focal person she will be having all the information at her finger tips. Currently, I interact with learners from primary school level up to tertiary level. I coordinate a local learning facility for my council (Library).”

Goredema is now able to identify and educate others on gender equality, equity and mainstreaming both in the communities and workplaces. She used to be of the opinion that gender refers to women and how they are or have to be fused with developmental issues only. Goredema is always advocating for equal access in the ownership and controlling of resources by men and women. She advocates that property rights and ownership for example the registering of residential and business stands must not dominated by males alone.

Goredema proudly said, “Gender Links country manager, Priscilla Maposa, has shown that she is able to do it. Maposa has well managed programmes national summits with notable increases in participation. With Gender Links, I believe that I can do anything more than what men are capable of doing. I have the potential to be the best as a woman, mother, wife, my children’s mentor and a leader at work. Yes, I can. Some gender imbalances exist in our families, workplaces and societies as a result of cultural beliefs but I personally believe that they can be overcome. There is a significant increase in the number of women in particular and who come up with gender sensitive projects in our societies. I constantly encourage for an increment in everyone to participate in gender programs both at work and in the community.”

Goredema believes that the community we live in, the policy makers and public private sector all need to be gender sensitive. She alludes that she has already convinced her spouse and children so as to share household chores regardless of sex. She has even taken a step further as this is now being practised in her Health Information department at work. She also encourages constant/regular through interactions at work and in the community as it maximises efficiency of gender mainstreaming activities. Goredema indicates that the community is emulating what she and her family are doing for people have seen her family

doing household chores without segregation. It also leaves the community with no choice but to emulate them. Goredema with the assistance of her subordinates regularly identify areas of need of need and change. She cited that she regards Gender Links annual summits as being very educative and helpful.

Goredema is creating knowledge as a driver of change in the community especially at her church. She is one of the community leaders who cherishes everyone’s ideas regardless of sex, race, political affiliation and age. Her stance is being emulated by other religious and civic and educational leaders.

Goredema admits that there are several challenges on the attitude of the Kadoma community many of which evolve on cultural barriers and politicisation of programs. She believes that most people in Kadoma initially viewed themselves as being weak and naive if they are to be led by women. However, Goredema is of the opinion that continuous dissemination of the right information through responsible authorities, awareness campaigns and community engagement can be of great importance to her community.

An indication by Goredema is that Kadoma city has a very high number of illegal gold miners commonly known as Makorokoza. She highlights that who do not view women as capable leaders. According to Goredema, a general survey she did in some parts of Rimuka high density suburb concluded that most of the illegal gold miners view women as child bearers only. The illegal miners consider women as not fit to lead in any capacity or initiate any meaningful projects. They batter women and girls at the slightest provocation and most of them are on the law enforcement agents wanted list. Goredema and her team of gender awareness campaigners are working tirelessly to educate these gender based violence perpetrators through awareness campaigns. She believes that they are achieving their objectives because there are lots of men in and around Kadoma city who respect women views now.

Goredema concludes by stating that maximum involvement and inclusion of both sexes in gender issues both at workplaces and the community lead to sustainability of projects and programs. The inclusion and training of the young generation of both sexes also lead to respecting the voice of the women in workplaces and communities.