By Nyaradzai Gogo
Most women with disabilities in Zimbabwe are not accorded equal access to job opportunities in the industries especially this time when the country is experiencing economic recession.
According to study by the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (NASCOH), only two percent of women with disabilities are employed in the Public Sector, and overall less than seven percent of women with disabilities in Zimbabwe are employed.
Disability may be generally defined as a condition which may restrict a person’s mental, sensory or mobility functions to undertake or perform a task in the same way as a person who does not have a disability.
Ruvararshe Sibanda (not her real name) who is lame said she was not being given the opportunity to explore herself in other sectors of the economy.
“It does not mean that a person with a disability is unable to perform all the important requirements of a job and exceed the expectations of their employer,” bemoaned Ruvarashe.
As a result Ruvarashe who is a qualified tailor begs for money in the capital near Charge Office rank.
“I do not have anywhere to work because of my physical disability as most employers do not take me seriously as a capable human being,” she said.
In Zimbabwe labour law act, Section 22 prohibits discrimination against disabled persons in employment.
Disabilities affect people in different ways. Many people associate the “disabled” with someone who is in a wheelchair, or who is blind or deaf. They have the attitude that people with a disability are totally different and therefore need to be treated differently. Unfortunately, this kind of stereotyping in itself is a form of discrimination.
With high rate of unemployment in the country, this makes it even worse for the disabled people as there are not considered for employment.
“The situation is even worse at the moment as the country is experiencing economic problems where able bodied persons are being preferred by employers and leave us with no option but go for begging,” said Ruvarashe.
“This is where discrimination occurs when we the disabled people applies for work at a private or public company, in most cases the employer finds the applicant less favorable because of her condition, or because she is believed to have a physical or mental impairment”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provide that everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. Despite these provisions, the right to work cannot be fully realized without the government and employees taking into consideration the specific needs of various groups of people in its country.