Mahatma Gandhi says “a teacher who establishes rapport with the taught, becomes one with them, learns more from them, than he teaches them.” This is what happened between First Lady Auxilia Mnangangwa and female members of the Fourth Estate when they had a meeting at State House yesterday.
Accompanying her were two high-powered female executives with vast experience in women empowerment and mentoring.
It was a casual meeting where the female journalists were told to feel at home and raise all issues that they felt the First Lady was interested in, especially development-oriented issues.
The relaxed atmosphere allowed the women to feel free since the First Lady had also opened up to them about who she is, in a motherly and sisterly manner.
But there were a number of lessons both parties learnt from each other, one of which was that people can just meet as Zimbabweans, without burdening themselves with political tags.
The women from different media houses also realised that they could freely share ideas for the national interest, ideas that can be developed into stories, features, analysis and opinion pieces as each media house sees fit.
This was one of the best take aways especially when the First Lady had emphasised that the differences between the media houses would be brought to an end at the meeting, since the objective was unity and to ensure that people work towards a common goal — development as a united Zimbabwean family.
The First Lady also highlighted issues that women who juggle a number of issues must be aware of.
Indeed, you might have a job today, but what if it comes to an end today? Do you have a safety net? What other ventures are you working on, that is empowering you?
A lot of the ladies might have heard some of the self-empowerment ventures, but in an ever-changing environment, the ideas proffered by Mrs Chipo Mutasa and Mrs Molly Dingane were refreshing because they can be re-branded.
Being encouraged to embark in developmental projects in groups was also pertinent because this is how unity can be strengthened.
The First Lady also promised the female journalists that she would approach some of the line ministries with a number of issues raised.
But the bottom line is that there is power in sharing ideas, irrespective of whether they are common beliefs and/or not. Status does not matter, because at the end of the day, every idea can be useful.
While the First Lady spared a few hours to appreciate what happens in news rooms, including the challenges faced by the female journalists, the opposite is the same with the journalists.
The scribes also appreciated that the First Lady had time in her busy schedule to invite them to the State House to speak with them in a feeling and atmosphere that was welcoming.
Obviously, she could not have all female journalists all at once, but this first gesture was appreciated by all in attendance.
Those that attended should also treat it as a train the trainer programme, and they should spread the good news to other ladies in their newsrooms.
We also hope that the First Lady does a comparative meeting with male journalists, including at the top in order to come up with a holistic approach to dealing with the issues raised.
Finally, a call was made that we are now in the knowledge era, thus people expect the First Lady to have a public Facebook page, and a Twitter handle, so that millions of Zimbabweans and other nationalities reach out to her with their issues, especially the millennial generation.