By Staff Reporter

Gweru- Despite the 2018 elections having come and gone The Midlands Women’s Coalition in Politics in Zimbabwe (WCoZ) have already started pushing for an increase in the number of women participating in politics in the next 2023 elections, The Gweru Times Online has learnt.

Speaking during a symposium that was held under the hashtag #Section56Campaign (section 56 of The Constituiton) held at the Young Women’s Christian Association Centre in Mkoba recently, men and women from different organisations took turns to identify and deliberate on the hurdles faced by women in politics.

Mrs Clara Chikohora from the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association, facilitating, said despite the 2018 elections having come and gone, now is the time for women to strategically position themselves and start preparing for the 2023 elections.

WCoZ Midlands Chapter Vice Chairperson Mrs Florence Guzha speaking at the same event, said women have the same leading qualities and capabilities as their male counterparts , if not better, but socialization and patriarchy in society have instilled an inferiority complex which needs to be broken.

Women Affairs Provincial Development Officer in Midlands, Mrs Sithembile Dube said women should be open to learning no matter how difficult the environment may be, because that is the reality which should enable women to adequately advocate for their empowerment in politics instead of being defeatist and despondent .She said women should not be cry babies but come up with alternative solutions to help the relevant authorities to solve their problems.“Let’s be open to all points that are said no matter how painful and then we will be able to find a way of dealing with those problems.“We need statistics and information which we will then go and research and come up with relevant strategies and solutions to tackle those problems,” Mrs Dube said.

Present at the conference were also councilors from the City of Gweru comprising of councillor Notal Dzika and Edson Kurebwaseka who acknowledged that women are being used in politics but noted that it was the women themselves who were not taking a united stance, as some even tended to champion the interests of their male counterparts against their own.They said the political field in Zimbabwe is very hostile and thus women need to be ready and prepared, so that they can challenge their male counterparts at the same level. They reiterated that women are as good as men but need to openly take a concise stand once they are into politics. 

Delegates at the symposium

This symposium was a call for action to promote equality and non-discrimination of women through identifying and tackling problems that women frequently face in the political arena. It also focused on the barriers that prevented women from entering politics in the recently held national elections, in light of the fact very few women participated and currently hold positions in public offices.

Some of the barriers in politics identified included name calling as witnessed by some senior women politicians who were called ‘prostitutes’ in the last election.Sexist comments, low self-esteem and ‘pull-her-down syndrome’ by women themselves, patriarchal tendencies, domestic responsibilities, religion, lack of knowledge, skills and attitude by some women, fear of the unknown and several other obstacles were highlighted during discussions.

Present at the meeting were representatives from NGOs and government departments dealing with women issues or related to gender equality campaigns which included Padare, Women Affairs Ministry, Young Voices– an organisation for the disabled, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Gweru City gender focal persons, Zimbabwe Women’s Bureau, Musasa Project amongst several others. 

Copyright :The Gweru Times

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