No uniforms for schoolgirls who are pregnant.
During Parliament’s question-and-answer session on Wednesday, Minister of Women’s Affairs Sithembiso Nyoni confirmed the new directive after Bulawayo Central MP Dorcas Sibanda (MDC Alliance) raised the issue.
As formal schoolwear may not be consistent with their changed body stature, the government has decreed that pregnant schoolgirls be permitted to attend class in their maternity attire.
As a ministry, we are very worried, and Hon Sibanda is right that a lot of girls fell pregnant during this lockdown time. We are working with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education on the issue , ” said Nyoni.
We also set up women’s and mothers’ child care committees that care, girls, like this and we encourage them to go back to school. Indeed, some of them have uniforms that are no longer appropriate because, due to pregnancy, they have now grown larger.
We talk to schools to encourage them to go in their own clothes.
Nyoni encouraged families, teachers and parents to provide pregnant schoolgirls with moral support.
We will not do it without the kids being made to realize that sometimes being pregnant might not be solely the girl’s fault. There are some girls cornered into pregnancy. But we need to keep helping them to go to college, schools, and even to take up jobs because having a child doesn’t mean you’re disabled now, or you can’t do a lot in life,’ she said.
Nyoni was also asked by Sibanda to clarify her ministry’s attempts to ensure gender equality. Nyoni said women make up 52% of the population in Zimbabwe, so measures have been placed in place to ensure that more girls are educated and enrolled in universities.
The ministry therefore takes a very critical and powerful stance to ensure that girls are motivated. We have services that empower women as well. I agree that gender equality is not possible as long as women continue to be politically, culturally and socially marginalized. In our ministry, we have different funds and we are trying to disburse them so that women are economically empowered,’ she said.
Nyoni said Cabinet recently passed a policy on small and medium enterprises development to specifically empower, women and the disabled.