Story by John Nhandara
Women continue to be under-represented in politics and governance issues despite constitutional provisions that promote gender equality.
A stakeholder engagement on women’s political participation has seen concern being raised on certain gender inequalities and barriers to women’s participation in governance.
It emerged that despite the country’s constitution being clear on the promotion of gender balance, the gap in achieving gender parity and gender balance especially for women in politics and leadership positions is still a cause for concern.
Section 17 of the constitution mandates government to promote gender balance, taking into cognisance full participation of women in political, social and economic spheres.
“We still have gaps because we have seen under representation of women in politics,” noted Gender and Media Connect National Director Ms Patience Zirima
The remarks were cemented by a Politician Ms Linda Masarira who said, “We have section 17 of the constitution but it appears it’s not being reflected with the situation on the ground. We still need more women in politics and more women in leadership positions.”
Despite the bottlenecks, the country’s legislative environment has been described as conducive, especially the women’s quota system.
“We need to appreciate the legislation put in place to encourage women’s participation. We have the extension of the women’s quota which was done through constitutional amendment number 2,” highlighted Hon Tatenda Mavetera.
“Also the introduction of the women’s quota is pro women. We need an act so that we enforce provisions of ensuring gender balance.”
The SADC Protocol on Gender and Development obligates state parties to adopt legislative measures that enable and ensure women have equal opportunities with men to participate in electoral and decision-making processes.