Campaign Financing challenges for women in Southern Africa

This report discusses key findings of a Research study on the Challenges faced by female candidates in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe conducted by two independent consultants between July and August 2020 using narratives and key informant interviews with civil society organisations, male and female politicians, and representatives of election management bodies. Relevant literature was also reviewed.

The governments of Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia have committed to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment through
enacting laws and policies on gender equality and women’s empowerment as well as signing and ratifying international and regional legal frameworks on the same. Despite these commitments, the three countries are struggling with the inherent contradictions between customary and general laws, with the former being rooted in patriarchal values that afford women limited rights. To this end, gender disparities in the three countries continue to be evident in a number of areas, including resource distribution; economic empowerment and involvement and high unemployment rates of women in the formal sector as compared to men which have a direct bearing on women’s participation in decision-making and in political representation.