WUA is a private institution that was co-founded by two visionaries Professor Hope Cynthia Sadza, a former Public Service Commissioner and Dr Fay King Chung the former Minister of Education in Zimbabwe.  It was established in 2002 and granted a Charter by the Government of Zimbabwe in 2004, (Statutory Instrument 130 of 2004).  It is currently operating from its head office located at 549 Arcturus Road, Manresa Park, Harare.  It has satellite campuses in Bulawayo, Marondera, Kadoma and Mutare in Zimbabwe and an Open Distance Learning programme for students in Malawi and Zambia.

The University has strong governance structures provided by the Trustee Deed and Charter.  The Charter provides for a three-tier governance structure comprising the Board of Trustees (BoT), Council and Senate. The BoT is the principal authority of the University. It appoints the Chancellor and gives general policy guidelines to the University. The Chancellor, in turn, appoints the Vice- Chancellor (VC) and one or more Pro-Vice- Chancellors (PVCs) upon recommendation of the BoT, in consultation with the Council.  The VC is the chief academic, administrative and disciplinary officer (CEO) of the University, responsible for its daily operations. Management of Faculties is vested in the Deans of Faculties under the overall coordination of the Pro Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs and Research. 

WUA’s vision is to be the best University in Africa in the promotion of gender equity.  Its mission is to provide quality tuition, research, service to the community, innovation and industrialisation to empower mostly female students for leadership and developmental roles. WUA is guided by its core values which are honesty, integrity, professionalism, accountability and teamwork.  WUA seeks to enhance women’s capacity through the provision of higher education which enables women to fulfil political, economic, social and leadership roles free from the gender based violence.

WUA is the only women’s university in the region that is directly tackling the problem of women’s access to university education. Its enrolment policy of 85% women and 15% men is contributing towards the 50:50 gender participation ratio enunciated in the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development and the Constitution of Zimbabwe.  The University considers the empowerment of women to be absolutely critical for substantive economic growth and improved democratic governance.  WUA is developing as a multi-disciplinary institution focusing on fostering gender equality and reducing gender disparity in higher education, through empowering women in a variety of fields.

Currently, WUA has three faculties namely Agricultural Sciences, Management and Entrepreneurial Sciences and Information Technology, Social and Gender Transformative Sciences and the Research, and Postgraduate Centre as well as the Quality Assurance Directorate.  These faculties offer Diploma, Undergraduate, Masters’ and Doctoral Degree Programmes.  The newly established Research and Postgraduate Centre which is headed by a Director is a hub for catalysing policy relevant to research and publications, ensuring quality and coordinating doctoral research and supervision.  

The University has experienced phenomenal growth in student numbers from an initial enrolment of 145 students in 2002 to over 5,600 students in 2021.   In its 19 years of existence the University has produced a total of 10481 graduates most of whom are employed in government, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and universities with some establishing themselves as entrepreneurs.  WUA offers a flexible study time table consisting of regular day and evening classes, weekend classes, holiday block releases and Open Distance Learning (ODL) modules.  WUA has foreign students from fourteen African countries and efforts are under way to increase enrolment of students from the SADC region through the University Open Distance Learning (ODL) Programme. WUA has enjoyed a steady increase in enrolment in Malawi and Zambia as part of its regional expansion over the past three years Currently, WUA has 38 students from Malawi studying various programmes through the ODL mode. Efforts are being made to increase enrolment in Malawi and Zambia.

Driving WUA’s growth is its rich pool of human resources from which various skills are drawn in order to carry out and deliver on research outputs.  WUA researchers have strong analytical skills and proficiency in written and spoken English; very strong knowledge of international, regional and national laws and policies on women’s rights; broad understanding of the development and economic challenges and priorities in the African region which have a bearing on the extent of women’s political and economic empowerment and participation in decision making; and the researchers bring a wealth of experience and expertise in applied qualitative and quantitative research with diverse groups of people including women, children and men. 

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