Walking into the Automotive Engineering Department, one is greeted by the sight of ladies at work, working heavy machinery, in overalls and safety shoes graciously working in an environment which has been previously seen as a preserve for men.
They are defying social stereotypes, yet remaining feminine in a so-called man’s world.
This is part of the fruits of efforts by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education to promote the uptake of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and STEM careers by females.
Bulawayo Polytechnic, heeding the call, has vowed to promote gender equality through its various policies that seek to uplift the girl child.
Gender parity is one of the key areas that the institution is focusing on and female students are encouraged to enrol for courses that have been previously thought to be a preserve for the male counterparts, especially in the STEM area.
Last year, over 250 students graduated in the fields of STEM at the polytechnic, a sign that strides are being made towards gender equality.
A number of leading women in industry went through the capable hands of academic staff at the institution.
“We encourage the girl child to apply, especially in the disciplines that have been previously ruled out for girls and seen as preserves for their male counterparts.
We particularly encourage women to enrol for the Science, Engineering and Mathematics courses. We are, however, happy that our enrolment for girls in STEM is increasing annually so this is testimony to the fact that we are doing something good,” said Mr Rumutsa Rumutsa, Head of Department of Administration at the institution in an interview yesterday.
Mrs Chiedza Masanganise, the Vice Principal, who is an inspiration to many female students and male too said she is proud of what the institution has achieved towards gender balance.
“We are happy to be part of an institution that acknowledges and celebrates the strengths and abilities of women and I am proud to be a leader, working with such an exceptional team.
“I hope to continue being an inspiration to other younger ladies that there are no limits in academics and leadership, women should find their voice,” she said.