Teach gender at primary school: Oppah

Incorporating gender studies into the school curriculum from an elementary level is the solution to addressing gender gaps in society, says former Gender Affairs minister and Zanu (PF)’s Women League boss, Oppah Muchinguri.

Former Gender Affairs minister and Zanu (PF)’s Women League boss, Oppah Muchinguri, will only rest when gender equality is realised.
Former Gender Affairs minister and Zanu (PF)’s Women League boss, Oppah Muchinguri, will only rest when gender equality is realised.

Due to the fact that she believes education is central for the upliftment women, Muchinguri wants to encourage more women to be involved in politics by focusing on gender studies in schools.

“Being educated gives you dignity. I am a principled person who does not accept oppression in any form because of my education, history and what I believe in,” said the 55-year-old war veteran.

Not about straight A’s

She said the benefits of going to school should not be measured by final examination results.

“When pupils go to school, it is not about coming out with straight A’s. It is about exposing them to the real world where they are able to make informed and intelligent choices,” said Muchinguri.

“I was a school drop-out because of the war but this did not stop me from going back to school years later. Look at me now: I am going to graduate this year after completing my masters in International Relations. Next year, I will be studying for a Doctorate,” she said.

The politician revealed that she intended to retire from active politics in five years ‘to pave the way for new blood ‘.

“I have played my part and it is time that I concentrated on my final project: research on the role played by women during the liberation struggle,” she said. “We were there and we played our part. The challenge is that there has not been much research on this subject.”

Muchinguri hails from Manicaland province and participated in the liberation struggle alongside the late nationalist Josiah Tongogara. She worked as a private Secretary to President Robert Mugabe from 1980 to 1981.

Exposed to gender inequality

She became the Minister of State in the president’s office from 1997 to 2000.

“Working as the Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development from 2005 to 2009 exposed me to the challenges experienced by women and girls in the post-independence era. The incoming government should do more to address the plight of women, girls and the physically challenged,” she said.

She encouraged young girls to aim high. “My teenage years were spent in the bush. I had to strategise knowing that I could die anytime,” she said.

Making a comparison of her teenage years in the pre- independence era to the prevailing political, economic and social environment, Muchinguri urged women and girls to take advantage of the prevailing peace.

“The new constitution opened windows of opportunity for women and girls and it is high time that women delivered,” she said.

As one of the few recognised liberation war heroines, Muchinguri expressed her concern that society’s attitude towards single parents was having a negative effect on young women.

Don’t marry young

“Parents, especially mothers should not put tags and timelines for marriage on their daughters. Why should the success of a young woman be measured by marriage? This is why they get married to the wrong people and we have a lot of divorce,” she said.

With regards to women’s achievements in the post independence era, Muchinguri commended the government for creating an enabling environment for the development of women in all spheres of life.

“We are not there yet, but my party recognises and empowers women across the board. For every three positions, there is a woman,” she said.

Muchinguri said she would only ‘rest in peace’ when gender equality is realised.

“Teach gender studies from an elementary level. There should be no compromise for political positions in government, especially because we all played a part,” said Muchinguri.

Post published in: News

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