Young Women Bemoan Patriarchal Political Space Despite New Dispensation
Young women says they remain camped outside the levers of political power as they have been left out of key decision positions, despite promises of inclusivity and gender balance in all social and economic spheres by the ‘New Dispensation’.
Speaking to 263Chat on the sidelines of an Institute for Young Women Development (IYWD) Community Visioning Forum meant to facilitate dialogue between young women and Parliamentary candidates on the status of Social Service Delivery in communities, young women bemoaned the continued domination of their male counterparts in political space.
“It is sad to see that despite the several calls for women to take up leadership positions, many of us remain in the cold as males continue to dominate the political spheres.
“This is largely because of the past violent history we have had in this country where young women have been victims hence they end up living in fear of being politically active,” said Bridget Size from Trojan Mine in Bindura.
Another young woman from Bindura, Catherine Muchenje, said she was contemplating on going to vote in the July 30 elections as all participating candidates are men who might not understand the needs of young women in particular.
She said political parties were largely to blame as they do not promote participation of young women.
“The problem goes back to political parties which do not give participation space to young women to be leaders. You find that all the powerful positions within a certain, are occupied by males and women, especially young, are nowhere in the picture. It, therefore, means our needs and voices will not be heard as these male politicians do not really know what we want.
“Even if we were to tell them, they do not act upon our demands as they are not aware how critical they will be. So this talk about new dispensation and new ways of doing things is just cheap politicking . We need to see practical action which compliments the cheap talk,” she noted.
IYWD leader, Glanis Changachirere said despite the will that young women showed in participating in the forthcoming elections, they were left in the cold hence their needs will not be met.
She said the inability of incumbent parliamentarians to come back and listen to issues affecting young women was a cause for concern hence the dialogue between the prospective MPs and the young women.
“We want the incoming MPs, regardless of their political affiliations, to come back to the community and address the issues that affect us as young women. We have issues to do with Sexual Reproductive Health, which we feel, are better addressed by female representatives but looking at the candidates we have in Bindura, they are all males.
“It is really sad that we have been doing a lot of work in pushing young women to participate as councillors and parliamentarians but unfortunately, most of them did not make it through the primary elections and ultimately, we have seen a general underrepresentation of women and regression of female participants going into the next election.
“So what this means is that, despite the new dispensation talk, the political environment is not yet conducive for young women to participate in both council and parliamentary elections there is,” said Changachirere.