BUHERA – Lack of women in senior leadership has been debated on for years at global level and despite efforts by Government to promote gender equality in political participation, progress has been glacial, top management roles and senior positions of power throughout society remain largely the preserve of men.
One can say that the world itself is rooted in unequal gender norms and such norms where women are treated as second-class citizens are very resistant to change.
Despite the establishment of different instruments to do away with patriarchy, for example, the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development which encourages states to ensure equal effective representation by women in decision-making in political, public and private sectors, Zimbabwean women still encounter long-standing and stubborn barriers that are hurdles to running and staying in politics.
As the country moves towards the 50:50 gender initiative, more needs to be done to attract women in politics.
Interviews held by The Mirror revealed that women encounter a lot of barriers which hinder them from participate participating in politics ; some of which include few women role models,including lack of empowerment, lack of financial support, patriarchy and political violence to name a few.
MDC Councillor for Ward 7, Adlight Manyere who is one of the two female councillors out of 33 in Buhera Rural District Council in Manicaland Province said politics come with many challenges which women who are naturally fragile find it difficult to overcome.
She says said that men use that to their advantage by trying to pull women down until you they give up politics.
“Women should have a strong political arm, that is, despite the challenges they face as they try to take up leadership space in politics, they need to be prepared to challenge every obstacle that threatens their political progression,” she said.
Manyere stresses stressed that during the 2018 election campaigns as a female candidate, lack of resources was one of the major challenges she faced.
howeverHowever, virtue ofdespite being a woman, she managed to win the elections to become one of the two female councillors in the district.
She said that with the few resources she had, she managed to change the hearts and minds of the voters that a woman can lead them.
“The voters want to see what you have to offer for them to have confidence in you. Men have assets. I was a woman with no resources competing with a man who had resources. But people also want to see results,” she stressed.
Zanu PF Councillor for Ward 5, Jane Ziki says said that having a few women role models is one of the major obstacles for women to take part in politics.
She is of the view that women who are already in political leadership positions should lead by examples example and be role models to pave way for other women who want to be active in politics but lack motivation.
Most women look down upon themselves as they think they cannot lead merely because they are women.
“Women become motivated by seeing another woman making it in politics. That is when they have the confidence that they can also achieve, and start to respect you. Therefore, women should not shy away from saying they can do it, they need to understand that women are power,” said Ziki.
Zanu PF Buhera District Coordinating Committee (DCC) Chairperson, Causemore Chimombe feels that more needs to be done to for women to appreciate the importance of participating in politics.
He said that traditionally, women are expected to stay at home and care for their families hence competing with men for political office is unheard of and men find it uncomfortable to be led by women.
Chimombe said that empowerment should start from the grassroots where boys and girls should be raised equally.
“Traditionally, our fathers did not allow female children to go to secondary school and some were completely deprived of the right to education whilst boys were allowed to further their education. This is the root cause of our problems and that is the reason until today women find it difficult for them to hold infuencialinfluential positions and men resist to be led by women,
“We were raised like that but if we want to have more female political leaders, women’s empowerment should start at grassroots level and at a tender age,” said Chimombe.
Zanu PF Buhera DCC vice vice-chairperson, Chamunorwa Mudzimu believes that since women constitute more than half the country’s population, they should be encouraged to hold power so that they take part in governance processes where decisions regarding their lives are made.
“Women must be able to wield power that goes with their numbers and speak with their own voices,” said Mudzimu. https://masvingomirror.com