Great Zimbabwe University Hosts International Gender Conference
The Great Zimbabwe University’s Nehanda Centre for Gender and Cultural Studies has organised an International Gender Conference under the theme “Breaking the Nexus between Gender and Poverty.” The two day conference which is being conducted at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe has attracted over a hundred delegates locally, regionally and internationally.
The International Gender Conference which has received overwhelming response from academics across the Globe was officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Hon A. Damasane at a prestigious opening ceremony in Victoria Falls. In her speech she expressed her gratitude to the Vice Chancellor of Great Zimbabwe University Prof R.J Zvobgo in absentia, for facilitating such a research forum which is a think-tank for academics to do research and come up with ways of eradicating poverty across the globe and such ideas are not only part of the 2016 Sustainable Development Goals but resonate well with the Zimbabwe National Economic Blue-print, ZIMASSET.
The Honourable Minister urged academics to not only conduct researches but augment them with practical and policy-oriented approaches in advancing gender issues and eradicating poverty. She added that the Government of Zimbabwe places high importance on research forums of this nature, and the recognition they offer on everyone in reflecting on how people can unite in standing up for gender equality and emancipation of the marginalized groups of the society, and with those remarks the conference was officially opened.
The International Conference which has been graced by a keynote speaker from the University of Oxford, has attracted delegates from as far as America, Nigeria, South Africa and from local Teacher’s Colleges, Polytechnic Colleges, Universities, Government, Non Governmental Organisations only to mention a few and serious debate and research is being unearthed in a quest to break the nexus between gender and poverty. The key note speaker Dr Caroline Sweetman spoke on Gender and development in line with the theme and stated that economic inequality was increasing globally especially in the Global North. She highlighted the key factors as the feminisation of labour and responsibilities in women and thus echoed that there was a need for social change.
In her address she also highlighted that crisises in masculinities lie in job losses or unemployment and hence lead to domestic violence. She gave a case of Lesotho masculinities that lost jobs in South Africa that have proven to be very violent to their female counterparts and highlighted that as an effect of poverty. The renowned scholar touched base on a number of issues but concluded by saying, “In order to break the Gender poverty-nexus, women need equality, education, employment, marital and family relations.” Gendered stereotypes about work, also need to end for everyone’s sake.
“The two day Conference is ongoing and academics are sharing ideas as well as presenting papers whereupon a research journal will be published for academic purposes and ideas expanded in order to ensure that the nexus between Gender and Poverty is broken”, stated the Director and Organiser of the Conference Mrs E.F Zvobgo.
Asked for comments, the Director for Research and Post Graduate Studies Prof P. Gwirayi said he is very humbled by the response of the conference and echoed that it is the University’s public mandate to interface with the community by way of engaging in research and coming up with solutions and promised to host more of such Conferences on Great Zimbabwe University’s behalf.
The Pro Vice Chancellor of the Great Zimbabwe University Dr Andrew Chindanya, who will officially close the conference tomorrow, acknowledged the presence of high profiled participants of the conference and applauded them for having the initiative to push forward a gender agenda for sustainable development with a particular view to ending poverty and wished them fruitful discussions. The conference has been well received by delegates.