Vice Chancellor and Professor, Women’s University in Africa, Zimbabwe
The Women’s University in Africa (WUA), of which I am the Vice Chancellor, is a private institution with campuses in Bulawayo, Harare, Marondera and Mutare. It was co-founded in 2002 by Dr Fay Chung and myself and was granted a Charter by the Government of Zimbabwe in 2004. The University is driven by the desire to generate and disseminate knowledge mainly to disadvantaged African women as well as men and empower them to take up leadership roles so that they can fully engage in Africa’s social, economic and political development. Ever since its foundation, WUA has continued to grow as a multi-disciplinary institution that is fostering gender equality and reducing gender disparities in higher education by providing women, the majority of whom are over 25 years of age, with opportunities to enrol in fields such as Agriculture, Management, Entrepreneurship Development and Information Technology, and Social Sciences and a forthcoming programme on Reproductive Health Sciences.
The University considers the empowerment of women through knowledge to be absolutely critical for substantive economic growth, improved democratic governance and sustainable development in Africa. This is in keeping with Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution that recognises the rights of men and women to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres; the Southern Africa Development Community’s (SADC’s) Protocol on Gender and Development which enunciates 50-50 gender parity in all sectors; the African Union’s Agenda 2063 which aspires to create an Africa in which there is full gender equality in all spheres of life and in which women are empowered and play their rightful role in all spheres of life; and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals especially Goals 4 and 5 on Quality Education and Gender Equity. In the increasingly complex, interdependent and technologically advanced world economy, knowledge acquisition through higher education and experience has become a crucial pillar on which Africa can compete with other continents. This makes knowledge for development a top priority for WUA as it contributes to the global competitiveness of its graduates whilst being gender responsive and locally relevant.