By Bridgette Ndlovu (Women’s Institute for Leadership Development_WILD)
Zimbabwean women are pushing for gender equality in parliamentary, political party and local government leadership, a call that has seen at least 14 political parties signing to achieve 50/50 representation in political party candidates and endorse the Women’s Manifesto.
The Women’s Manifesto (2018-2023) was officially launched by the Speaker of the National Assembly Honourable Advocate Jacob Mudenda and handed over to Honourable Monica Mutsvangwa who is the Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus.
The women’s manifesto is a 30-paged document spearheaded by women parliamentarians and aspiring leaders from different political parties, supported by HIVOS.
The move comes at a tie when women around the world are commemorating International Women’s Day which is comes annually on the 8th of March .
International Women’s Day, celebrated annually since the early 1900s recognizes women’s political, social and economic emancipation and achievements while emphasizing gender parity.
This day is aimed at achieving gender equality for women in the world. Although this has not been fully achieved, great strides have been taken in pursuit of ensuring gender equality for all.
Advocate Mudenda implored political parties to uphold the dictates of the constitution or they risk litigation.
“Government, parliament and political parties should implement gender equality provisions. Women should challenge the status quo and fight hard for their constitutionally enshrined rights to equality,” he said.
In Zimbabwe, women remain underrepresented in business and politics with men dominating these spaces despite women constituting 51 percent of the total population. In Zimbabwe’s local government, women’s representation stands at 18 percent.
The disparities are daunting.
Women’s Institute for Leadership Development appreciates the efforts made by at least 14 political parties who signed the Gender Equality Pledge on Tuesday 06 March, agreeing to have 50/50 representation of male and female candidates within their political parties.
Although research suggests that we are 168 years away from achieving gender parity in the world, steps taken to contribute towards gender equality cannot be underestimated.
Zimbabwe emulates Rwanda, a nation that has progressively included women in parliament with a 63,6 percent representation of women.
While we acknowledge the contribution made by men, we also celebrate the achievements of women who have made it into leadership positions of influence in the business and political realm. They have overcome the traditional barriers and negative stereotypes
The theme for this year is #PressForProgress a call to escalate advocacy efforts and garner support for gender parity in all aspects of life.