Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Let our voices be heard: International Human Rights Day-FSN joins the rest of the world in commemorating International Day of Human Rights 2013.

Female Students Network joins the rest of the world in celebrating the International Human Rights Day. Human Rights Day promotes awareness of human rights issues around the world and it helps to buttress the point that everybody has the right to have their voice heard and to have a role in making the decisions that shape their lives and their communities.

FSN will continue to educate and share with female students about their rights, which include the right to participate fully in the important decisions and policies affecting their lives. That means not only the democratic processes, but also the key economic decisions that can have such a huge impact on individuals, families, and even entire groups and nations.

For female students, the right to accommodation is very important because some of the end up engaging in immoral activities just to get money for proper and decent accommodation. The Network therefore urges the government to bring back grant so that students can be able to fend for themselves just like they did when the government was still offering the grants.

This will not only benefit the students but the nation as a whole because what good will it bring to have an HIV infested youth  who get involved in sexual relationships for food and accommodation, something that can  be prevented by the return of students grants. By this the Network is not condoning the immoral behaviour by female students but is trying to find a solution to the problem.

Female students also have a right health but the unhygienic ways in which they dispose sanitary ware in most tertiary institutions leaves a lot to be desires. There is need therefore for the relevant Ministries such as the Ministry of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development as well as the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science Technology Development to put measures of hygienic sanitary disposal such as incinerators and disinfectant soaps in toilets.

There is also need to intensify efforts of protecting female students from sexual harassment because most of them are not aware of the Sexual Harassment Policy and the few that know about it are ignorant of its contents.

On this day, the Network would also like to take the opportunity to salutes all those who have suffered so much seeking what is rightfully theirs.

The voices of too many women and girls, in particular, continue to be stifled through discrimination, threats and violence and this is holding back progress for women and for all members of society.

FSN believes that women’s participation is fundamental for sustainable development, peace and democracy and as we commemorate the international human rights day, we should remove the barriers to women’s full and equal participation in the economy, in politics and in all aspects of public life.


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

It’s time to act to stop Gender Based Violence

Female students Network joins the rest of the world in commemorating 16 days of Activism against Gender Based Violence. The 16 days, starting form 25 November to 10 December is way of raising awareness of the scourge that has taken many live throughout the years.

It is also a time to make duty bearers, especially the police to take seriously issues of gender based violence. Of late, female students have complained that they are not being taken seriously when they report cases of abuse to the police.

It is very important to note that Gender Based Violence does not only affect couples in a marriage setting but those who are not yet married too. For female students, a lecturer asking for sexual favours for a pass constitutes gender abused violence.
Gender based violence is still a challenge in the country and has impacted negatively on our society, with consequence such as injuries, unintended pregnancies and HIV/AIDS.

According to reports by Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey(ZDHS) 1 in 4 women had experienced sexual violence and in 9 out of 10 of the cases the perpetrator is the woman’s current or former husband, partner or boyfriend; and 1 in 3 women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence since the age 15.

Gender based violence had impacted negatively on the Zimbabwean society, with consequences such as injuries, unintended pregnancies and HIV/AIDS.

As FSN, we encourage everyone to continue working together to raise awareness that violence against women and girls is unacceptable. Gender based violence is a human rights violation that calls for an integrated and multi-sectorial approach if we are to achieve meaningful results

There is need for more campaigns that involve men as they are also victims of gender based violence in some cases and largely the perpetrators of GBV.

Zimbabwe is to be commended for setting the policy framework for gender based violence prevention and response which includes the Domestic Violence Act although there is still need to deal decisively with this vicious cycle of violence, as it is destroying families and causing untold suffering to the victims. The human rights abuses against women not only inflict great harm and suffering on individuals but they affect the entire society.

FSN therefore encourages everyone; regardless of gender to work together to stop gender based violence as it has caused untold suffering in the Zimbabwean community. The Network also encourages everyone to condemn gender based violence and take action against it not only during the 16 days but the whole year because gender based violence affects women, men and children on a daily basis.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Of religion and female leadership

The first question that comes to most peoples’ minds when someone speaks about equality is what does the Bible says about it?

Female Students Network has found out that many female students shun leadership because they say the Bible disapproves of women leaders. They say in the Bible, most of the leaders where men, hence being a female leader is going against the Book of Life.

Some female students even refuse to support their fellow females on the basis of religion.

 They sat the Bible says men are the heads and they interpret this to say men should be the leaders and women should follow. Since men are the heads, they carry the brains which think for the whole body, so they say.

But what exactly does the Bible say about women and leadership? Where does it precisely place women? The Bible says God created the woman as a "helper" for the man:

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (NIV, Genesis 2:18)

However, being a "helper" does not imply that the woman was inferior or subservient to the man. In fact, God created both men and women in His own image and made them equal custodians of all his creation.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Genesis 2:27-28)

Compared to other cultures of the time, Jewish women enjoyed great liberty and esteem, and many women distinguished themselves as prophetesses and leaders in Jewish society. Women such as Deborah, Esther, Hannah, Miriam, Rachel, Rebekah, Ruth and Sarah played important and decisive roles in Israel's history.


Women in the Bible occasionally held strong positions. Esther, for example was put in a position where her influence could help Israel.


Women often held influential positions in the Bible. Deborah was a great prophetess who was also a leader in Israel (Judges 4: 1- 5:31).


Modern times have seen several outstanding female national leaders, including Israel’s Golda Meir, who successfully ruled Israel from 1969 to 1974. Since we know that God ordains all leadership—“For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Romans 13:1).


Generally speaking, God designed men for positions of leadership but apart from leadership in the church and family, which is given to men alone, the Bible doesn’t expressly forbid women to participate in other positions of leadership.

As evidence of the equality of men and women, the Ten Commandments require children to honour both their father and mother:

"Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. ( Exodus 20:12)

God created both men and women in His own image and made them equal custodians of all His creation. But, because of their disobedience, God punished Adam and Eve and evicted them from the Garden of Eden. Eve's punishment was to suffer pain in childbirth and be ruled over by her husband.

Jesus broke with tradition and treated women in a much more egalitarian way than was normal in the society of that time. The early Christian churches followed Jesus' lead and gave women much higher status and more privileges than was common in the rest of the world.

Christians disagree over whether this principle should apply in the modern world. Is the man's authority over his wife and family a great spiritual principle decreed by God for all time, or is it, like the Bible's teachings about slavery, just a reflection of the realities of Biblical-era culture?

Today, many Christians believe women should enjoy all the same rights and privileges as men. Other Christians, however, continue to advocate a secondary role for women based specific Bible passages

The men is not said to be the leader but the head of the family.  In an organisation, institution or a country, a woman can also be a leader.


Congratulations Female Students!

Female Students Network (FSN) would like to congratulate most of the Network’s members who graduated with Diplomas and Degrees in various categories.

The past few years have not been rosy for many students, who faced hardships ranging from paying tuition fees to 

Female students have been having difficulties on the issues of accommodation. Some of them revealed female students that they had to share a room with 3 or 4 others while paying an amount of $50-$60 per head per month.

Chiedza Chiwetu, who graduated with a Bsc Honours Degree in Psychology, said she has  managed to finish her degree despite the many obstacles she faced at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).She stated that

“Being a single mother and a student was not easy but through the support of my family and the strength from Almighty God it was possible. FSN has also supported me all the way throughout my Degree they have moulded me into the woman that I am that knows her value and her vision as a woman.  

Another FSN member, Daylite Marufu a former student at Belvedere Technical Teachers’ College says owes her success to God.

“My inspiration comes from God, I always prayed during my years at college and I believe God is the one who made me survive through all the hardships that I failed, “she said.

Daylite also attributed her success to the teachings she got from FSN.

“I would like to thank FSN for their moral support. The Network taught me to value myself as a woman and not let taken advantage of by men. I took this advice seriously and I will forever be grateful for it,” she added.

FSN is sure that their efforts were worth it all and that their achievements will make a positive difference in their career paths.
Daylite Shumba –Diploma in Teaching                                                                                                 

Monday, 30 September 2013

Police disrupt FSN workshop in Masvingo

FSN in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) carries out Global Political Agreement (GPA) debates with students as well as community members.

The aim of the workshops is to evaluate the GPA and to also discuss about female students participating in national processes such as the recently held elections and the constitution making process.

The Network has been working with female students for three years and it is authorised by the deans of students who view the Networks’ workshops as extra curricula activities.

On Friday the 20th of September, FSN held a workshop in Masvingo with Masvingo Polytechnic female students on Friday the 20th of September 2013. Female students who attended the workshop were from Masvingo Teachers’’ College, Mogenster Teachers’ College and Great Zimbabwe University.

FSN usually works with local organisations during such activities. The Network had invited a representative from Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD), a Masvingo based organisation, to give a presentation during the workshop

At around 15 00hrs, the workshop was disrupted by the police who had been tipped off by Zimbabwe Congress of Students’ Union (ZICOSU) members that there was a former Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (ZINASU) member. The ZICOSU members had called the police purporting to be the Dean of Students.  

The police thought the ZINASU member was working with FSN and the clash led to police accusing the FSN Director for not notifying the police about the workshop. They then arrested FSN Director Evernice Munando together with four other presenters. The Masvingo Polytechnic Dean of Students then called the police and explained to them that he had authorised FSN to work with female students from his institution.

The police who had sat in the community workshop the previous day also testified that FSN was apolitical and had carried out a peaceful, non-partisan workshop with community members. Ms. Munando was then released at around 18.00hrs after thorough questioning and interrogation.

Female students who had attendee the debate were left in great fear as they had never encountered such incidents during FSN workshops before.

FSN condemns unruly behaviour conducted by the students’ organisations as it tarnishes the image of the Network.

In as much as FSN partners with student organisations, the Network wishes to disassociate itself with rowdy activities carried out by these movements. FSN would also like to apologise for any inconvenience this incident might have or is likely to cause to our partners and stakeholders.

Female students on the move

After a series of leadership seminars and workshops, female students are now participating actively at their institutions SRC and even occupying top positions that were usually taken by males.

At Mutare teachers’ College for example, female students managed to assume all top positions, including that of President and Secretary General. At Solusi University, five female students also took part in the recently held SRC elections and four of them succeeded to win.

The workshops have managed to boost female students’ confidence to participate in leadership because students open up to the Network about factors blocking them from getting into leadership. 

 Thembelihle Zulu, a second year Journalism and Media Studies student at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) who is running for the post of president at the institution promises real solutions to the problems that are being faced by her fellow students.

The aspiring NUST president Thembelihle Zulu
 On her manifesto, Thembelihle touches on many issues that affect students in modern day Zimbabwe.

“Many of us struggle to pay our fees. This situation has plagued many but today I bring hope. I am currently in talks with numerous local companies in order to set up the NUST fund. This is going to be a fund that assists in paying fees for students who find themselves in arrears particularly those in the final year so that they may graduate and get their certificates. This fund will be administrated by the S.R.C,” reads part of her manifesto.

The aspiring SRC president further promises that she will make life easier for her fellow colleagues of she is voted for.

“Many students struggle to get attachment places because they might not know here to look. This is usually stressful period for part 3s. In order to ease their burden I have already talked and secured a deal with numerous employment agencies in and around Bulawayo. The agencies will inform the S.R.C of the available positions in different companies and all these shall be posted in the SRC website that I will set up when she gets into office. This is definitely going to go a long way in helping parts 3s get attachment.”

Female students have been shunning leadership positions, citing factors such lack of knowledge and lack of support from other female students, but it seems they are now geared up to assume leadership posts with the knowledge, skills capacity and encouragement they got from Female Students Network.


Tribalism in Matabeleland impedes female students’ participation in leadership

Female students have sited challenges that affect their participation in leadership, but who would have ever thought that tribalism could be one of them!

Shocking revelations of tribalism in Matabeleland tertiary institutions have emerged during Leadership Sensitisation workshops carried out by Female Students Network (FSN), with the support of Students and Academics International Help Fund (SAIH).

Female students at Joshua Mqabuko Polytechnic College say the situation has dampened their participatory attitude and made them shy away from getting into leadership positions.

Gwanda is a predominantly Ndebele area mixed with Suthu. However, most students who learn at JM Poly come from as far as Masvingo and Chinhoyi in Mashonaland province and cannot speak a single word in the local Ndebele language.

The female students said that they would feel like they are getting way too ahead of themselves if they contest for leadership positions in a foreign province where they are discriminated against.

There is also a general belief that the Shona tribe wants to dominate the Ndebele, hence the hostility.

A female student from Bulawayo Polytechnic College said “Sometimes you will be talking to friends that you want to contest in the elections and they will ask why you want to always dominate? Can’t you go and lead where you come from? They say it as a joke but you really see that they mean it.”

There are a lot of tribalism incidences at the college, with some female students claiming that they are made to feel as if they do not belong because they cannot speak Ndebele.

Another female student from JM Polytechnic College said “During lectures, some Ndebele lecturers will say something in Ndebele and other Ndebele students will laugh and he will say he is not going to repeat the statement and that Shona students should learn to speak Ndebele. I for one would love to speak Ndebele but because of this discrimination I am no longer interested in Ndebele,” showing that lecturers are also perpetuating the homophobic attitude.

There are more Shona speaking students in Matabeleland than Ndebele because, according to researches, Ndebeles leave for South Africa (eGoli) to seek for employment immediately after school or even before finishing ordinary level.

The Ndebele people originally come from South Africa and they feel they are more at home down south as they are a product of South Africa.

Another issue is that of the Gukurahundi (destructive cyclone), that left thousands of Ndebeles dead in the 1980s. It seems some Ndebeles never forgave the Shona for that even after their leader; Joshua Nkomo had signed a Unity Accord with Presidents Robert Mugabe. The hatred and division also seem to be moving from generation to generation because most female students were not even born at that time but they are very emotional about the sensitive issue.

FSN conversely encouraged the female students to unite so that they may fight together the patriarchy that exist in the African society, starting at institutional level upwards.


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Regai nditore uno mukana kutenda Female Students Network

Poem by Rumbidzai Mashasha
Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Polytechnic College

Mauya mukamutsa njere dzedu
Takanga tirere mumagudza chaimo
Taizviziva rini kuti takakosha
Aiwa zvaitwa FSN.

Kuti mukadzi ati pamusoroi
Zvanzi uri hure
Kuti ati bufu
Zvanzi wakadii ukadai
Chokwadi akuruma nzeve ndewako
Nhasi ndazvionera pamhino sefodya
Aiwa matendwa FSN.

Vakadzi ngavae pasi pevarume vavo
Ndiwoka mutemo watinozvwiudza
Ini ndakashata, ini handina basa
Hutungamiri hwobva hwaenda kumadzibaba
Aiwa nhasi ndapa kutenda
Aiwa regai nditore uno mukana kutenda FSN.

Ndatishandisei kodzero dzedu
Sevanhukadzi, tive nhungamiriri dzamangwana
Godo, ngatibvise, nyadzi kure
Iva iwe pachako uve mutungamirir nhasi
Hezvo tapiwa FSN kutipa gwara.

Ko inga Doc (Principal) tinavo, ko Mother (Dean of Students) vatinodya navo mudiro zuva nezuva
Zvazvinongova pachena wani
Chiri mumusakasaka chinozvinzwira
Saka ngatiitei kunzwa nekuita
Sezvo tavapiwa tete vedu FSN
Aiwa maita zvenyu nokutitsika kwenyu.

Rumbidzai Mashasha


Friday, 23 August 2013

First time voter: A personal experience

The first time for everything is always a memorable experience. Most female students around the country cast their votes for the first time in the 31st of July this year. Female students have described the experience as extremely amazing.

Here is how Mildred Chamboko, a first time voter female student voter describes the experience:

As I woke up in the in the wee hours of the morning of the 31st of July, I could feel that it was a defining moment in my life. I am usually very lazy to get out of bed especially if it’s cold, but on that day, I woke up at exactly 5 am.

Because I was so eager to do it for the first time, I shrugged off the cold weather, brushed my teeth, grabbed my Identity Card and registration slip and together with my brother, who was also a first timer, went out to exercise our right.

I did not even eat my breakfast because I wanted to be the first person to cast a vote at Warren Park Primary School.  To my surprise, over a hundred people were already standing in the queue! We decided to go and check the other polling station which was at Warren Park 1 High School. The queue was much better and we decided to join it.

Although at first the queue was moving at a tortoise pace, we waited patiently for our turn. I witnessed some “special citizens” such as the elderly and pregnant women, mothers who had brought their and the disabled being made to jump the queue, but I still waited tolerantly.

I then decided to go back home for a while and eat my breakfast because my stomach was now grumbling yet there were still about seventy people in front of me. I was constantly communicating with my brother to find out how close we now were because I wanted to make sure I did not miss my first time.

I then went back to the polling station, and as I entered the classroom where people were voting, I was asked for my ID and registration slip for back up. They check my finger to see if I had not voted anywhere else.

 All this time my heart was pounding heavily because I was thinking: What is my name is not found in the voters ‘roll and what if there is an error in on the registration slip, what if I will not be able to vote?

I let out a big sigh of relief when my name was found on the voter’s roll. I was then given three ballot papers, I felt excited that I was going to cast my vote. I then dipped my little pinkie finger into the pink ink, and went behind the ballot box.

I never felt so important in my whole life as I put an “X” on my favourite candidates. It was a moment of glory and I can’t help but recall it over and over again. When I was done, I folded the papers and put them in the appropriate boxes. As I went out of the classroom I felt like I could fly with pride. I had finally exercised my right as a citizen. Thanks to Female Students Network for they encouraged not me only but hundred other female students to vote. It was a magnificent experience and it felt so good. It is also a wonderful thought that my vote was counted. ***********************

Meanwhile other female students who also voted in the recent elections also described the experience as marvellous.

“My first time was so good. I felt like I was special. Standing in that little box all by self and putting in X on my favourite candidate was an out of this world experience. I really felt I like an important citizen exercising her right, “said Buhle Mambo, a second year Development studies student at the Midlands State University.

Another female student Olivia Moyo from Great Zimbabwe University said” I was just thrilled to have to be part of the voting process. I felt really good because you know you have the power to shape your destiny by voting for the person you think will provide solutions for the country. I don’t know why I did not register to vote in 2008. It was an awesome experience.”




Thursday, 1 August 2013

Female students eager to cast their vote

The 31st of July is the D-day for many female student virgin voters.  Most female students registered in the ended mobile registration exercise and are enthusiastic to cast their vote.

For 27 year old Isabel Phiri* growing up in a relatively harsh environment where she had to be labelled a “brandaya”, a term for people who are of the Malawian origin, she had to face the reality that indeed she was not considered a Zimbabwean.

 In 2008 when she tried to cast her ballot at the age of 22, Isabel tried to cast her first vote but alas, the screaming letters written “alien” on her identification certificate was her draw back

She was told that she could not exercise her right to vote simply because her parents were foreigners.

Five years down the line, Isabel was given a new lease of life when Zimbabwe ushered in the new constitution.

Not only is Isabel a born free but also an alien allowed to make a decision in the political dispensation, thanks to the new supreme law of the land. She only had to fill an affidavit and was allowed to register as a voter.

A female student at Lupane State University said she tried to register in 2008 as a voter at the age of 23, but was frustrated by the process of proof of residence and hence failed to register.

This time around, she is determined to exercise her right to vote since she is now a registered voter and to make a change in her life by voting for the party of her choice.

Another female student at Africa University said she was motivated by the desire to bring in the change she wants as a young woman.

“I was keen to go and register this time because I want to be able to shape my future by choosing people who can make a change in my life. I also believe that as young women we should all go and vote to decide our future. I feel excited that I exercised my right and my vote will count in building up a great nation,” she said.

This year youth are itching to make their voices count in the upcoming elections. According to a survey done by Mass Public Opinion Institute,

A total of at least one hundred and thirty female students have registered to vote in the upcoming harmonised elections, with the encouragement of FSN.
* not her real name.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Female Students Network joins the rest of Africa in celebrating the day of the African Child on the sixteenth of June 
On this day, Africans remember the students from South Africa’s Soweto suburbs who were killed by policemen during an uprising where they were protesting against apartheid-inspired education.

The day of the African child also provides governments, international institutions and communities towards improving the plight of marginalised, particularly vulnerable children. It also advocates for the recognition of youths and children’s rights.

The youth who died on this day fought not only for their rights but for the rights of all children. It of paramount importance therefore to reflect on these rights on this day.

Children have the right to education, shelter, health, the right to develop fully to their potential and the right to protection and survival among other rights. This article will focus on children’s’ rights to education, shelter and the right to protection.

 The right to education is an important right as it helps them to realise their right and responsibility to help build a better world in partnership with their families, the communities around them and their nations and the world at large. In Zimbabwe the right to education is clearly enshrined in the constitution but is it being fulfilled?

 Recently, 500 students from Bondolfi Teachers College in Masvingo were suspended over non-payment of a teaching practice fee which almost equals their tuition fees.

 Education is a basic human right hence the suspension of the students is a direct infringement of this right

Children at primary and secondary schools are being turned away every beginning of the school term although the government says it is against this policy.

The Ministry of Education is not being firm on this decision because school children are still being chased away if they do not pay their fees.

The Basic Education Assistance Mechanism (BEAM) has also cut down on the number of beneficiaries, leading to an increase in the number of school drop outs.

In tertiary institutions, the Cadetship programme has since been frozen and students now have to source for fees money on their own.

For some female students, it means having to find rich married men who will help them to pay their fees in return for sex.

This is disheartening in that female students will then proceed to have unsafe abortions after discovering that they have fallen pregnant which are prejudicial to their health. Furthermore, they will be susceptible to contracting STIs and/or HIV AIDS.

The government should therefore be in a position to assist students with loans for their continued hassle- free education.

Cases of children being abducted, raped and killed are also on the high jump in Zimbabwe. The environment has become so unsafe for children that parents are always on the edge when their children are not at home. 

 School, which were once a safe place for children now leave a lot to be desired. A case in mind is that of a thirteen year old Prince Edward boy who was killed by his colleagues or teacher (it has not yet been established) and thrown in a disused swimming pool.

Another case is the story of two children from Hatfield Primary School who allegedly turned into vampires after wearing bracelets they were given by their teacher.

Teachers also continue to molest school children, even at tertiary level in exchange for distinctions.  Female students who turn down their lecturers’ sexual advances are made to fail their modules.

 The people that are supposed to be guardians of our children continue to abuse them and the school is no longer a safe place for them. Thus there is need for the government to take stringent measures against child abusers.

Children have the right to shelter and to be cared for. However it seems the numbers of homeless youth and children still roaming around the street are escalating but a lot of orphanages have been opened.

Therefore there is still a lot to be done in realising the rights of the African child.


Tuesday, 18 June 2013


It’s painful to see powerful ladies in tertiary institutions falling prey to social ills such as prostitution, abortion, drug and substance abuse and many others. They are supposed to be the enlightened ones, they hear or read stories of the downfall of those who have walked in these footsteps before but they still follow behind blindfolded. A set of words that are usually uttered when one is caught under these circumstances are “I had no choice”. This statement is invalid there is always a choice, it depends on which one you want to choose and most of the times ladies tend to take the easy way out and these simple mistakes that we can avoid have the power to take away what you are meant to be.

There are choices that are not worth choosing in this world such as abortion or suicide. Everything happens for a reason, the darkest hour is at dawn and from each tear we cry we should derive a lesson. Falling down doesn’t demarcate the end of the  journey, you just have to know how to get up, dust yourself and keep moving forward. Mistakes do not define a person but their level of perseverance doesn’t which is determined by the choices that they make. Wisdom and strength are nothing if channelled in the wrong direction. But who determines what’s wrong and what’s right, well that’s a discussion for another day. As it is in this context one can say that the right choices are the ones that won’t haunt you in the future, the ones you’ll be glad you made, it’s a matter of living life without regrets. It is these regrets that we have in life that make one think they aren’t good enough, they pull you down, leaving shades of guilt beneath shame, self-esteem is affected, and self-confidence also suffers.

Climbing the ladder of success is not a walk in the park and it becomes even more burdensome to the girl child as she is carrying social and natural on her shoulders, after all the society still perceives her as a female. Gender mainstreaming is a very good move towards women empowerment but it’s not all that is needed. Women empowerment has to start from the grassroots level, that is to say the society has to begin looking at a woman as a human being and not a tool for baby making, housework and gossiping.

This also brings to light the issue of roles; it’s natural for women to care, they were naturally blessed with social, productive and reproductive roles and for that they should be respected. On top of that they want their potentials to be realised, when they step on podiums or enter the boardroom it would be preferable for people not to start by scrutinising and judging their dressing, actions or who they are going out with but it’s important for people to listen to gain meaning from their presentation. This small aspect that people don’t usually take heed of can be the beginning of total women empowerment.

Empowerment begins with an individual and it should be noted that this individual shouldn’t be the next person but the self. The way an individual empowers herself is evident in the self-confidence and self-esteem that one portrays as she walks round. At the end of the day it then boarders down to the choices that a lady makes because they define who she is, they determine her level of success and happiness.  Usually when people make decisions they have a tendency of looking at two extreme conditions which are either to consider what society would say or not to consider the next person at all. Self-empowerment commences when a person learns to differentiate between constructive and destructive criticism. It begins when a person recognises that their life is a story in the making. Self-empowerment is made possible when one decides to better their lives strengthening the positives and working on their negatives. More self-knowledge helps us make better choices and understand our reactions towards others. Above all it is important to know our priorities and be knowledgeable on how to set them straight.

Challenges will come along, they always do, the pain the sorrows may linger as much as joys and jubilation are sure to come along too. The key is to know how to react in these situations and which choices to make. Three things that never come back in life when gone are time, words and opportunity. We live in the present, let’s make the most of it and though the past is gone the future is certain and it’s a challenge that we must meet. Instances of people tracing other people’s footsteps without success or a different outcome have become very common. Why not write your own story that tells of a legend in the making? As I said before every life story is different because we are all are different but the concepts remain the same.

Often times we have heard the words, “Be the change you want to see”. Thus to say women empowerment begins with self-empowerment. Believe in yourself for people to start believing in you. It’s a long walk to freedom and it isn’t an easy path to follow, keep your eyes on the price, you’ll find out that the destination isn’t that far away after all. Take the lead, keep your head up, walk tall, and smile, it only takes a spark to make a fire, it only takes a female student to achieve the international goal of total women empowerment.   
By Thando Gwinji
Solusi University

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Female students have done it again!

Four female students at Solusi University have won top leadership positions in the college’s SRC.

The four students who have taken the leadership positions at Solusi are Edina Maphosa (Secretary), Musa Bwanali (Secretary General) Lisa C. Madondo (Minister of Entertainment and Culture) and Vimbai Phiri (Treasurer).

In a sign of rare courage a female student, Thando Gwinji had contested for the post of president but unfortunately failed to make it to the top.

This milestone achievement comes hard on the heels of yet another foot of breaking the tradition of a male dominated area when, female students at Mutare Teachers college took up the positions of President, Secretary General, Finance Officer, Entertainment Officer and Food Representative.

 The recent surge of female students getting interested in student politics and let alone making it to  top positions is a result  of recent Leadership workshops by Female Students Network (FSN) where the Network has been conscientising female students on the need for them to shape their destiny by taking up leadership positions.

 The recent success stories of female students breaking into the SRCs shows that the FSN organised workshops are yielding positive results.

Before FSN conducted the leadership workshops, very few females were interested in getting involved in student politics, which they regarded as a male field.

 After attending the workshops most female students feel inspired to join SRCs at their institutions.  

The workshops have been a motivation to female students’ participation in their institutions’ SRCs.
FSN views these successes as a great move towards the emancipation of females in the once male dominated territories.



THE importance of voting cannot be understated. Many people think that their vote does not matter. Imagine if everyone felt that way, we would never exercise our right to vote and we would never elect a person to represent our views! There have been many, many elections - not just on a local level - that have been decided by less than 100 votes. So thinking that your vote does not count could not be further from the truth.

Many a times, people who do not vote are the ones who complain about the socio political economy and are ignorant of the fact that voting is about changing those certain aspects that you feel need to be changed.

If you do not vote you let others decide what is good for you. Voting provides an important way to voice your opinions regarding elected leaders and overall policies .It also helps you decide your own future by electing a person who might reflect your own views. If the right to vote no longer existed, the country would no longer survive as a democratic nation, but completely totalitarian. By not voting, you give away your right to influence the government overall.

 Because this sacred right has been guaranteed to all citizens of the nation, you should take the initiative to vote for someone/something that reflects your overall views. A good participatory citizen would know the details of the election and get involved in local politics.   Every citizen has the right to vote in any election and, therefore, should exercise their vote. 

The most often heard excuse for not voting in an election is "my one little vote won't make a difference." That one vote can make all the difference in the world, so female students let us all go and register to vote because if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

FSN condemns female students’ intimidation at UZ

University of Zimbabwe (UZ) female students who want to be part of the Student Representative Council (SRC) are facing intimidation from their male counterparts.

Female students who want leadership positions are looked down upon to the point of feeling inferior to males.

Most recently a female student (names with held for fear of victimisation) who wanted to contest for the Secretary General post almost withdrew from contesting in the elections after males she was contesting with other students stories about her social life to degrade her and printed fewer flyers for her among other factors.

Another female student was detained for more than two hours by security at the college and forced to confess that she published photos of a violent scene which came out in the college’s newsletter. The student was allegedly detained in the control room at UZ and forced to write a report confirming that she took the photos.

Another female student from Midlands State University (MSU) who had come to support her fellow female students was also arrested by security and she spent one night at Avondale police station.

She was allegedly charged with not producing a school ID to enter the university’s premises, but however, when friends who came to see her at the station produced their IDs they were told that the IDs were not recognised identifications, raising eyebrows as to what the female student was really arrested for.  t

The elections have since been put on hold until next semester because of disagreements about the constitution.

As female student body member, we are concerned about the intimidation of our female students. We therefore would like to encourage male students to have a culture of tolerance because we believe that men and women are equal and they should be given an equal opportunity in life.

The Network believes that there is no one sex which is superior to the other, hence there is need for male students to appreciate the efforts that female students are making towards equal representation.

As Female Students Network we also encourage female students to surpass all obstacles of intimidation and thrive to be powerful and exemplary leaders in their intuitions and communities.