THE government must formulate policies to support and increase the participation of women and girls in science, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has said.
ZLHR made the call on the occasion of International Day of Women and Girls in Science which is celebrated once every year on February 11.
It implored both State and non-state actors to take coordinated steps to formulate policies, initiatives and mechanisms to support and increase the participation of women and girls in science.
“The government is reminded of its obligation under section 27(2) of the Constitution which requires it to take measures to ensure that girls are afforded equal opportunities as boys to obtain education at all levels.
“These proactive measures are required to resolve the gender disproportionality existing in the science field. Government should also ensure that schools are adequately equipped,” ZLHR said in a statement.
The organisation, set up to foster a culture of human rights and encourage the growth of human rights through observance of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, said school authorities must stop the persecution of women pursuing their dreams.
“School authorities must stop this unlawful practice in order for girls and women to continue their education and pursue their dreams in the science field.
“This practice of withholding results by school authorities contravenes the right to education that is guaranteed by section 27 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” the statement read further.
It added that it is regrettable that some girls are deprived of education because of poor backgrounds and retrogressive cultural norms.
“In Zimbabwe, cultural norms, poverty, lack of adequate resources in the education sector (human and technical) hinder the pursuit of careers in science by women and girls.
“Sadly, women and girls are expected to be mothers and wives primarily in many communities across the country.
“Therefore, many women and girls do not get an opportunity to pursue a higher education in STEM fields, let alone a career in science.
“Of the women and girls that have the opportunity to go to school, many are unlawfully prevented from continuing with their education as they fail to pay fees.
“The working conditions of educators are also deplorable,” ZLHR said.