By Idah Kamushinda (Guest Writer)
On Wednesday 8th March 2021, Zimbabwe joined rest of the World in commemorating the International Women’s Day(IWD). This goes far beyond mere celebrations as we track the success stores of women’s progressions in terms of global tourism.
Zimbabwe’s tourism sector has gone through a number of developments ranging from empowerment to women’s progressions.
There is every reason to celebrate women’s success stories, as they being seen in all corners of the tourism sector. This becomes significant interms of employment, entrepreneurship and as consumers of tourism products and services.
The women constitute the majority (59%) of the industry’s global employees but unfortunately, they are only well represented in service and clerical level jobs but poorly represented at professional and management levels. Currently, only 23% of the World’s Tourism Ministers are women. In view of this obtaining situation, Zimbabwe as a country, has taken several strides to champion the role of women in the country’s tourism development.
The Zimbabwean Government in its bid to promote gender equality and encourage women’s participation in the national economy, the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry (MECTHI) decided to assist women who are into tourism and its value chain through the establishment of The Zimbabwe Women in Tourism organization.
Thos was lauched in 2018 with a soul mandate of fighting systematic causes to the invisibility women especially in tourism entrepreneurship.
This is expected to be achieved through a number of activities including the creation of revolving funds for women tourism entrepreneurs and the promotion of education, training and professional development of women tourism entrepreneures.
The organisation is currently lobbying for land banks for tourism investment by women. It is also currently building a pool of bankable projects in collaboration with the country’s State University Incubation Hubs and the Tourism Educators and Researchers and Association of Zimbabwe (TERAZ).
This will go a long way in allowing women to explore more through implementation of the proposed projects.
For this to take centre stage, would call for funding both from government and private players.
As the National Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women in Tourism, I would like to say that, “we as
Zimbabwe Women in Tourism, sincerely appreciate and salute the country’s leading tourism ladies such as our First Lady:-Amai Auxilia Mnangagwa, Winnie Muchanyuka, President of the Tourism Business Council of Zimbabwe (TBCZ) and many more.
We energetically rally behind their efforts to increase the visibility of women in the development of Tourism in the country and beyond and vehemently encourage other women to emulate their good gesture. Going forward, there is need for sex aggregated data on women’s participation in the country’s tourism industry, especially in relation to their consumption patterns, employment and entrepreneurial endeavours.
There is also need to develop gender equality, skills and leadership training programmes for women in the industry as it offers greater opportunities for the enhancement of livelihoods in the country”.
Idah Kamushinda is the current Chairperson of Zimbabwe Women in Tourism(ZWT) and a number of portfolios.