Women’s political participation still low Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) chief executive officer, Ms Samukeliso Khumalo

Flora Fadzai Sibanda, [email protected]

DESPITE efforts to mobilise and encourage more women to participate in politics, particularly during this year’s forthcoming election, there are concerns that the ratio of females taking part in political processes remains low when compared to men.

Zimbabwe is set to hold its harmonsied election on August 23, and the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) chief executive officer, Ms Samukeliso Khumalo, says it is worrying that the number of women who are participating is not equal to their male counterparts.

She said there are several underlying reasons that have always made women fail to participate in politics such as adverse societal norms and beliefs, which discourage women from engaging in political activities.

“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s nomination court results on women candidates that will stand in the 2023 harmonised elections reveal the reality on women’s political status. “Progressively, women and the youth quota, and the zebra format were adhered to in the National Assembly and senate list. However, 115, that is, 70/637 women candidates were nominated for National Assembly direct election and zero percent for Presidential candidature,” said Ms Khumalo. 

“This leaves women on the margins of decision making, which is also detrimental to democracy and the reduction of the pervasive gender inequality gap.”

The women’s lobby organisation says given the lower number of women involved in politics, critical issues that affect them will not be adequately dealt with in key decision-making processes.

Ms Khumalo urged the Government and all other stakeholders to try and create an enabling environment, which will make women not fear actively participating in politics.

She also suggested that more awareness campaigns be done so that women can be told the importance of being involved in politics and how important it is for them, and that resources should also be made accessible to women who might want to partake in politics. – @flora_sibanda

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