In an edition of In Her Own Voice Radio Program that was conducted on Skyz Metro FM, women expressed distaste in the manner that their peers respond to local governance processes. This was said in relation to a series of the 2020 budget Bulawayo City Council (BCC) Consultation meetings that were streamlined across the 29 Wards.
Over the years, women have bemoaned the manner that they are left at the periphery of decision-making processes, particularly in local governance.
According to Juliet Samson, “Women ought to be actively involved in budget consultation meetings as they tend to be the most affected whenever there is inadequate provision of social services.”
The participation of women goes hand in hand with the ability to access information that is key in making meaningful contributions during budget consultation meetings.
Lindiwe Ndlovu, a Ward Advocacy Committee (WAC) member said: “It is not always an easy task for a woman to access information as it is reserved and restricted to residents’ associations and political parties.”
In some instances, women’s participation gets affected by food distributions that may later on minimize chances of attending budget consultation meetings.
“In Cowdray Park, there was a clash of gatherings as there was a food distribution program as well as a budget consultation meeting on the same day,” added Samson.
The participation of women in local governance differ from one area to the other.
Zanele Nyathi, a Ward Advocacy Committee (WAC) from Gwanda cited how women in her community hardly face much challenges in accessing information.
“Information is shared with residents whenever a budget meeting is on schedule,” said Zanele Nyathi. “We actually have WhatsApp Group Chats that enable women to access information that might be key in encouraging them to play a role in budget consultation meetings.”
Lydia Maphosa, a Ward Advocacy Committee (WAC) Member from Plumtree stated that socially ascribed gender roles tend to affect the active and effective participation of women in her area.
Mitigating the problem of poor participation of women in local governance processes can be addressed through strengthened relations with residential associations, political parties, and Civil Society Organisations (CSO).
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