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|Saturday, 12 May 2012 22:29|
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Women in Zimbabwe
THERE is no legislated quota for women participation in decision-making. The Zimbabwe Constitution though provides for non-discrimination in general. There are, however, several policies that have been put in place.
The National Gender Policy seeks to redress the numerical imbalances in decision-making and politics by increasing the numerical representation of women to 52 percent. There has been an Affirmative Action Policy in the Public Service since 1992. A Public Service policy directive states that 50 percent of candidates for posts being offered should be female. As a result of the directive, there is now a 57 percent representation of women at Public Service Commissioner level. All the major political parties have adopted a quota system for women at political party level, this, however, must also be extended to Government level. From 1997-2000, the then Ministry of National Affairs and Employment Creation, which housed the gender machinery, initiated the Women in Politics and Decision- Making Project to help increase the number of women in politics and decision-making positions. Advocacy and awareness raising activities by NGOs include the 2008 Women Can Do It Campaign; the 50-50 Campaign and the Media Campaign.
Capacity development programmes for women Parliamentarians and Councillors are being carried out by the Women’s Trust (WT) and Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU), two leading women’s NGOs working on building women’s leadership capacity.
The issue of representation and women’s visibility in leadership and decision-making remains a major gap.
Challenges include limited resources for women to campaign during elections; cultural beliefs and norms which tend to be patriarchal and reinforcing male superiority and lack of a constitutional quota for women. Lesson learned is that the electorate would need to be sensitised for more women to be elected to public office.
Another lesson learned is that women have to be economically empowered to run successful political campaigns. There is need for further interventions in terms of gender awareness and sensitisation complemented by women’s empowerment to enable women and men to demystify the stereotypes around women’s participation indecision-making.