Where are the women?

Platform to interrogate women’s socio-economic and political development launched

January 24, 2023

Guest Speaker Dr Rubana Huq -Businesswoman and Vice-Chancellor of Asian University for Women in Bangladesh ( Left) and Anorah Sibanda Co-founder and Operations Director of AAA Holdings (Right)

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), launched Gender Café in Zimbabwe, a platform for women to come together and have dialogue around the various topics that affect them. The concept was started in Congo and is expanding into the continent. The event was attended by women experts and activists, as well as business leaders from various sectors.

Guest speaker at the event whose visit was facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Dr. Rubana Huq, a businesswoman and Vice-Chancellor of the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh explained her entrepreneurial experience in a factory business, getting into the ready-made garment industry which is male-dominated, and how the business expanded into employing about 15000+ women. 

Acknowledging how the UN women started the #heforshe campaign, she expressed the need to change the narrative to #sheforshe saying “until women stand for each other, it will not really make a difference”.

Another guest speaker, Anorah Sibanda, Co-founder and Operations Director of AAA Holdings trading as Gainquip Private Limited, an award-winning businesswoman highlighted how she made use of her authenticity and determination as she faced all forms of harassment during her time as the only female meteorologist.

Mia Seppo, UNDP Resident Representative speaking on promoting feminist leadership and culture said, “If women cannot get economic power, they will have a hard time getting political power and holding their own space within their individual family structures”. 

As women increasingly become aware of the opportunities and the challenges in transitioning to the modern & green ways of doing business, many actively shared their experiences, ideas, and solutions for business to thrive especially post-COVID-19.

During the launch, women exchanged experiences on the economic implications of COVID-19, work-life balance; how to deal with disappointments and mental health, access to finance and how to succeed in male-dominated industries.  

In closing, Fatou Lo, UN Women’s Country Representative emphasized the need for women to break the glass ceiling driving the inspiration from such platforms saying, “The goal is to have good conversations and network in a space for dialogue”.