A Bulawayo-based non-governmental organisation focusing on women issues, Emthonjeni Women’s Forum (EWF) is lobbying government to amend labour legislation to include issues around sexual harassment at institutions.
EWF programmes manager, Melissa Ndlovu, said there are current engagements with the Parliament of Zimbabwe to push for the introduction of measures to deal with offenders.
“We are lobbying Government to implement policy changes or amendments to the Labour Act and include issues around sexual harassment and measures to deal with offenders,” Ndlovu said.
“We have also engaged with the Parliament of Zimbabwe through the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to push Government towards ratification of the International Labour Organisation Convention 190 that comprehensively speaks to issues of sexual harassment.”
She expressed optimism that the government will consider adopting stern measures in its legislation to deter sexual harassment in various institutions.
“We are hopeful that the government will ratify the law. This is also a broader push from different spheres, angles towards ensuring that legislative authority recognises issues of sexual harassment within the Zimbabwean legislative framework,” she said.
Ndlovu said the organisation’s campaign, which has been raising awareness on issues around sexual harassment in various institutions, came to an end in November last year.
Ndlovu considers the campaign a success given that it has managed to assist a number of institutions in rolling out sexual harassment policies within their organisations.
“Throughout the campaign, we have worked on strengthening the institutional frameworks including policies towards addressing issues of sexual harassment. We have also raised awareness on what sexual harassment is and how it impacts institutions,” she said.
“We have assisted institutions to roll out their sexual harassment policies. We have been working with two tertiary institutions, namely Bulawayo Polytechnic College and the National University of Science and Technology.
“The response has been overwhelming because we have seen commitment in one of the institutions to create a sexual harassment policy and in the other institution they have also committed towards the effective roll out of the policy,” Ndlovu added