BY SILAS NKALA
THE Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) has engaged the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry over allegations that female staffers at Lupane State University are being sexually harassed by some top executives at the institution.
ZGC chief executive officer Virginia Muwanigwa said the commission was seized with the matter after receiving a report from one female staffer.
“We indeed received the complaint,” Muwanigwa said.
“We made contact with the LSU and they responded to us.
“We are currently engaging the ministry of Higher Education.
“The Commission is seized with the issue of sexual harassment in the world of work.
“We are currently monitoring the legislative processes aimed at combating sexual harassment, the anti-sexual harassment law, the gender equality law and the domestication of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the Workplace.
“The legislative processes were by and large triggered by our investigations on sexual harassment in other institutions.”
Last week, some women stormed the university campus protesting against the alleged abuses.
A top LSU official is accused of routinely abusing a string of women at the institution who included students and staff.
Sexual harassment is said to be rife at Zimbabwe’s tertiary institutions with lecturers accused of taking advantage of desperate students.
In most cases female students are reportedly forced to have sexual relationships with the lecturers in return for favourable marks for their assignments.
A 2015 baseline study by the Female Students Network Trust, a non-profit, membership-based organisation working with young women at tertiary institutions revealed that 97% of female students said they had experienced sexual harassment.
The survey was conducted at universities, polytechnics and teachers’ colleges where an overwhelming majority of students said they had experienced some sort of sexual harassment from lecturers and non-teaching staff.