fbpx
Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeGender and Women's RightsZim Quest for Gender Equality in Politics: Challenges and Calls for Inclusion

Zim Quest for Gender Equality in Politics: Challenges and Calls for Inclusion

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has underscored the urgent need for women’s inclusion in democratic processes, echoing global sentiments as International Women’s Day is commemorated under the theme “Inspire Inclusion.”

ZESN’s stance comes at a crucial juncture as Zimbabwe grapples with historical challenges that have hindered women’s political participation.

Despite the nation’s commitment to international gender equality frameworks, such as the AU Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, women continue to be grossly underrepresented in political leadership roles.

“The current state of women’s participation in democratic electoral processes in Zimbabwe is disheartening. We are actively engaging stakeholders to align the Electoral Act with the Constitution to ensure gender equality provisions are explicitly incorporated,” ZESN stated.

The decline in the number of women contesting directly elected National Assembly parliamentary seats is alarming. Only 70 out of 637 candidates were female, constituting a mere 11% of the total candidates, reflecting persistent barriers hindering women’s political engagement.

Moreover, the August 2023 Harmonised Elections served as a sobering reminder of women’s challenges. Out of the 11 presidential candidates, only one woman, Elisabeth Valerio of United Alliance Zimbabwe (UZA), participated, marking a significant decline from previous elections.

ALSO ON 263Chat:  Wedding Vows

The exclusion of Linda Masarira of Labour, Economist and African Democrats (LEAD) over non-payment of nomination fees further illustrates the financial obstacles impeding women’s participation.

Emirates

ZESN emphasized that the underrepresentation of women in Zimbabwean politics is not merely a numerical issue but a systemic challenge that undermines democratic principles. Traditional patriarchal gender stereotypes and a historical backdrop of gender-based violence perpetuate an environment hostile to women’s political aspirations.

“Violence Against Women in Elections (VAWIE), including sexual harassment, assault, verbal threats, intimidation, and smear campaigns against female candidates, exacerbates the problem, discouraging women from engaging in electoral processes,” ZESN stated.

The network called for resolute action from political parties to promote gender equality in candidate selection processes and to support women aspiring to political office.

Measures such as providing financial and logistical support to women candidates, implementing gender quotas, and fostering an environment free from violence and intimidation were highlighted as essential steps towards achieving equal representation in politics.

As Zimbabweans commemorate International Women’s Day, ZESN urged citizens to reaffirm their commitment to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The network emphasized the fundamental principle that every segment of society must be inclusively engaged in decision-making processes, ensuring their voices are heard and their concerns advocated for.

ALSO ON 263Chat:  MDC Alliance Demands Apology From Ziyambi

In a country where women constitute 52% of the population, their underrepresentation in politics remains a critical challenge. ZESN called upon women, young girls, and women with disabilities to seize opportunities within electoral spaces, contributing to a more representative and equitable political landscape.

Share this article

Tags

Written by

Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

No comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

You cannot copy content of this page