By Byron Mutingwende

A plethora of challenges continues to hinder the efforts aimed at enhancing the fair and balanced portrayal of women in the media, a development that calls for introspection and new strategies among the practitioners.

Speaking during a Candid Talk platform organized by Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe (FAMWZ) at the Quill Club, Simbiso Marimbe, a gender consultant said there was need to address challenges hindering balanced and fair portrayal of women in the media.

“First and foremost patriarchy in socio-economic, political and religious spheres of life is a challenge that media practitioners grapple with in their work and such constructs often lead to unbalanced portrayal of men and women.

“The lack of leadership and commitment on implementing gender protocols and rules, lack of skills and conceptual clarity on the subject, lack of zeal to exploit the potential of women to develop themselves and lack of dialogue or communication around gender issues are some of the obstacles hindering a fair and balanced portrayal of women in the media,” Marimbe said.

Despite the challenges, Marimbe acknowledged that there are policy frameworks that promote gender equality and equity.

These include the new constitution which provides for the establishment of a gender commission, advocates for an increase for representation of women in Parliament and gives full citizen rights to women and girls.

The Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) established in 1995 notes that there still remain huge gender gaps in newsrooms and editorial content. In 2005 it was found that a paltry 17% of news subjects were women and in 2010 they had risen to 24% signaling the fact that gender parity still remains a distant achievement.

The GMMP further portrays women’s portrayal in the media as victims compared to that of men which stood at 8%, and the statistics were equally bad cutting across the spheres of politics and news sources.

The 2012 Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe’s media voice distribution analysis shows women at 14% while men enjoyed the lion’s share of 76% and in a few cases that the women were given voices, their portrayal was in relation to their marital status, age and political relationships with men.

Tendai Garwe from the Women’s Trust said the family, state, religion and culture anchored patriarchy by pushing for male supremacy and socializing the media practitioners to follow the status quo as evidenced when journalists trivialize women comments by a description of their dressing and mannerisms.

She added that ordinary women politicians were denied visibility in the media and that there was need to shun the tendency of giving ample coverage to a few prominent women and ignoring the rest.

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Chloride Zimbabwe Launches New Solar Battery

By Byron Mutingwende

Amalgamated Regional Trade (ART) subsidiary Chloride Zimbabwe has launched a new solar battery under Exide that is set to meet the energy needs of its different customers in rural, urban, small and big businesses.

Officiating at the launch event, Mike Bimha, the minister of industry and commerce said the innovation was a timely intervention to the energy needs of the country where businesses were operating under a difficult environment characterized by lack of access to affordable sources of income, depressed demand, inconsistent supply of basic utilities and stiff competition from foreign products.

“Given such a harsh business environment, we congratulate Chloride Zimbabwe for responding to the energy needs of the country in such an innovative manner,” Bimha said.

Bimha said the innovation was in line with the Battery Manufacturers Association’s Incubation Strategy which seeks to provide responsive and innovative energy solutions that meet customer needs in a sustainable manner.

“This also augurs well with the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All initiative launched in 2012 with the aim of improving the lives of poor people, increasing share of renewable energy sources around the world and improving energy efficiency,” Bimha said.

He pledged government commitment to working with different stakeholders interested in enhancing quality of lives through the provision of energy solutions raising awareness on approaches that benefit the poorest in society.

Chloride Zimbabwe has bought new machinery to grow its battery business and increase its range of products to meet the growing local and regional demand.

The company is among the very few operating at above 60 percent capacity utilization at a time when most are operating at below 40 percent capacity according to the recent Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries 2014 survey.

Over and above that, Chloride is also recycling scrap batteries and beneficiating them in conformity with the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET) and the Industrial Development Policy which places emphasis on revival of the manufacturing sector through value addition, beneficiation and technological upgrade.

Bimha bemoaned the fact that energy access remains one area where there is global inequality.

“Around 40 percent (3 billion) of the world’s population lack the technologies to make cooking fuels clean, safe and efficient. Action is therefore needed to realize and deliver long-term solutions to the energy needs of the people and today we are here to witness such an initiative,” he said.

ART Corporation chairman, Dr. Passmore Matupire said the innovation would go a long way in rejuvenating the manufacturing sector by meeting the needs of consumers who often have to endure power black outs and added that the solar batteries were a renewable, accessible and affordable back up solution to their needs.

He appealed to government to consider deferent of Value Added Tax (VAT) on capital expenditure to allow Chloride Zimbabwe to pay it after the commissioning of its new machinery, rather than on or before the arrival of the machines.

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