Home#ElectionsZWMore women need to participate in politics

More women need to participate in politics

More women need to participate in politics

Opinion

Women are said to constitute more than 52% of the Zimbabwean population believed to be around 16 million.

Despite being the majority in numbers, women in Zimbabwe have been found wanting when it comes to occupying top political offices in both the ruling and opposition parties.

Other watchers say despite accounting for 52% in terms of headcount, the same women in their majority do not even come close to occupying at least 50% of top political space.

The highest women have gone in Zimbabwe is when Joice Mujuru was appointed Vice President and Thokozani Khupe became one of the Deputy Prime Ministers in the inclusive government.

Women’s participation in politics does not only help in advancing gender equality and at times equity, but it also affects the quality of policies that a country comes up with and also the solutions to problems.

Although the Zimbabwean government has extended the Proportional Representation Clause (Women Quota) in the national assembly and intends to introduce a 30% quota for women in the local government, real power remains in being elected directly through polls.

For example, Proportional Representation legislators have struggled to make a meaningful impact because they have no specific area of focus and are always fought by those who were directly voted.

The positive outcome of women in politics is irrefutable.  Kofi Annan noted, “study after study has taught us, there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.”

In Zimbabwe, there is a golden generation of female Parliamentarians who have left a mark in Parliament since 2000 to date.

These women have left no stone unturned in their fight for women and the girl child’s issues.

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission’s Commissioner Jessie Majome is one of those outstanding female legislators. She is the one who forced President Robert Mugabe to start delivering the State of the Nation Address in Parliament.

She also played a role in pushing for the banning of child marriages after the court had outlawed them courtesy of the Mudzuru and Tsopodzi versus the State.

There is also Ambassador Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga, who came to Parliament in 2000.

Misihairabwi who was often referred to as drama queen helped bring about the Sexual Offences Act.

She served as the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education and was the first woman to chair the Public Accounts Committee.

Honourable Misihairabwi also advocated for the provision of free sanitary pads to school girls, especially those in rural areas.

According to some statistics, female representation is still below 30% globally, the benchmark identified as the crucial level of representation to achieve a “critical mass” of female legislators to enable a significant impact, rather than a symbolic few.

Female legislators belonging to various backgrounds can therefore bring a wide array of issues to the table for consideration and propose solutions accordingly.

For a country like Zimbabwe, correcting the politics will not only bring about the much-desired gender dynamics in the world but will also determine who gets what, when, and how.

Women have always been the most affected by socio-economic issues that affect the everyday lives of ordinary citizens including corruption, political violence, and social injustice.

 Women’s engagement is crucial and it is important to recognize that women are not a homogeneous group.

 Depending on whether women are young or older, educated or uneducated, live in rural or urban areas, they have very different life experiences that lead to different priorities and needs. Clearly, women’s representation is not the only factor, but it is a critical factor for the development of inclusive, responsive, and transparent democracies.

More women need to participate in politics

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