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Fadzayi Mahere: Political Intimidation And Violence Deter Women From Leadership

9 months agoTue, 08 Aug 2023 07:48:53 GMT
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Fadzayi Mahere: Political Intimidation And Violence Deter Women From Leadership

The spokesperson for the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Fadzayi Mahere, has highlighted political intimidation and violence as significant factors contributing to women’s reluctance to assume political leadership positions. This reluctance is evident in the low participation rate of only 11% of women in this year’s general elections, despite women comprising the majority of the country’s population. Among the 11 individuals vying for the presidency, Elisabeth Valerio of the United Zimbabwe Alliance is the sole female candidate.

In the previous 2018 elections, there were a record-breaking four female contenders for the presidency. However, when candidate registration closed for the National Assembly in this election cycle, the major political parties had fielded fewer than 12% women candidates each. In the National Assembly, there are 70 women candidates compared to 637 men across 210 constituencies, representing a meagre 11% of the overall candidate pool, a decline from the 14% figure in 2018.

During a recent press conference in Harare, Fadzayi Mahere of the Citizens Coalition for Change emphasized that the hostile political environment in the country acts as a deterrent for women actively engaging in politics. She said:

We would have loved to see more women participating in leadership positions but sadly violence, harassment and intimidation are forcing women to shy away.

We must create a safe and inclusive environment where women can participate, express their ideas and contribute to the development of our nation. Let us break these barriers and empower women to take their place in shaping the future of Zimbabwe.

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Linda Masarira, the president of the Labour Economists Afrikan Democrats, expressed similar sentiments after her unsuccessful bid for the presidency. Masarira said:

As an advocate for gender equality, I am determined to challenge the patriarchal norms that persist in Zimbabwe’s political landscape. It is high time we dismantle the barriers that favour men.

Let us empower women to rise, amplify their voices, and reshape our political environment to truly reflect the diversity and strength of our nation.

Section 17 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, however, stipulates the promotion of full gender balance and the complete participation of women, based on equality with men, in all spheres of Zimbabwean society.

In response to the low participation of women, the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) emphasised that it would further relegate women to the periphery of development. WILD expressed concern that this marginalisation would hinder women’s involvement in decision-making processes, which is detrimental to democracy and perpetuates gender inequality. Additionally, it warned that women’s concerns regarding opportunities, public resource management, and service delivery would not receive adequate prioritization.

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