Ward Coordinators Round Table discussion of the Gender Audit of Political Parties

On Wednesday the 11th of May 2022, Women’s Institute for leadership development conducted a round table meeting with ward coordinators from around Bulawayo and representatives from the Zimbabwe Gender Commission. The meeting was graced by political figures, councilors and MPs, as well as representatives from political parties who shared their experiences in their political journey.

The activity was an opportunity for Ward Coordinators to discuss the lessons learnt, opportunities and challenges encountered during the registration blitz which saw them embarking on a voter education and mobilization in an effort to save their constituencies in the upcoming delimitation process. It was also an opportunity for young women to discuss the Gender Audit of Political Parties in Zimbabwe research which was done by Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC).

Dalubuhle Sibanda, the ZGC Matabeleland regional coordinator, presented Gender Audit which was of the view that despite the fact that women constitute more than half of the Zimbabwe’s population, their participation in election and governance processes, where decisions about their lives are made, is limited. The presentation also highlighted that the research highlighted that there is low representation of women as candidates and the most cited factor was that constitutions are gender blind and there are loopholes in electoral laws. Despite the fact that Zimbabwe is signatory to several normative frameworks that seek the inclusion of women in major decision-making organs, the reality is still dire.

One of the ward coordinators, Sukoluhle Mhlanga, was of the view that politics on its own is not a very friendly and conducive space for women to partake. “The political arena is very volatile space for women to participate considering that women are victims of gender-based violence and inequality especially if one is living with disability,” said Mhlanga.

The Audit also highlighted that woman do not get leadership positions but get Public Relations positions and other positions that are not positions of power.

Patricia Tshabalala a participant said that women should fight tooth and nail for positions they want and not succumb to this. She also emphasized on the point that women should stop the pull-her-down syndrome, they should support each other in getting another woman into a leadership position.

Another participant encouraged women to get into politics and take up leadership positions whilst they are still young, this will enable them to grow and might end up vying for the biggest position in politics.

Councilor Sikhululekile Moyo said, “I am fighting to show girls and women can take up positions of power, if I were to lose to another woman I would not mind”.

 

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