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Women and Politics - where does Zimbabwe stand? WIPSU launch: 25 Nov 09

WIPSU (Women in Politics Support Unit), a feminist organization focusing on women's participation in the political spaces, launched a research on the Gender audit of political parties in Zimbabwe, namely ZANU PF and the MDC Tsvangirai and MDC Mutambara.The launch took place in Harare on the 25th of November, coinciding with the commemoration of the 16 days of activism on Gender Based Violence which starts on the 25th of November up to the 10th of December

Various speakers from various political parties(including Hon.Oppah Muchinguri, Hon Theresa Makone,Hon Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga, Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, among other dignitaries) stated above delivered their speeches and reiterated the need for political parties to commit themselves on gender equality both on paper and in reality. They also stated that since Zimbabwe is a signatory to CEDAW,African Charter on Human and People's Rights as well as the SADC Gender Protocol, it was essential for the political parties to ensure that they adhere to the principles of gender equality as stated in the above regional and international human rights instruments.They also encouraged women to take an active role in the constitutional review process, so that their issues are included in the final draft of the constitution that will ensure that their civil liberties and socio-economic rights are respected and fulfilled by the state.

Dr Tsitsi Choruma, ActionAid Zimbabwe's Country Director, gave a presentation on the exchange tour that women parliamentarians and staff members from ActionAid Zimbabwe and MS Zimbabwe underwent in Rwanda in September 2009, where they learnt about how women in politics holding key positions in government, managed to rise from the 1994 Rwanda genocide, that left many people dead and many women abused (sexually, physically and emotionally).This was a learning experience for women in politics in Zimbabwe for them to reflect on their situation and come together in instilling sustainable peace in the communities and in the country as a whole.

The discussions in the plenary after the presentations focused on the need for women to take an active role in the political sphere, for that's where policies and critical decisions are made regarding their social being. Rwanda’s experience of gender equality in politics, where 50% of parliamentarians are women, showed that changes in women's lives can be noted, as a result of having women at the top level making decisions that affect the general women in communities.

All forms of violence including political violence were denounced during the launch and various political parties were challenged to address political violence in their organizations and how it negatively affects women and children. Recommendations from other participants also focused on the need for women parliamentarians in various political parties to engage with their colleagues in other SADC (Southern African Development Community) so that they learn on how they have been handling issues of gender equality in their various political parties and be able to come up with a model constitution around gender equality in political parties

My personal reflections on the launch were focused on the need for political parties to create the platform that is conducive for even young women to have a keen interest in becoming political activists. Only then, can women be seen being active participants in various political parties.

For more information on the launch, kindly get in touch with WIPSU Director, Ms Fanny Chirisa - fannychirisa@yahoo.com or Ms Tsitsi Mhlanga-Information and Campaigns Officer- tsitsimhlanga@gmail.com.

Compiled by Tafadzwa Muropa (who was also a participant at the launch of the research)

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Comments

Fadzie,
I agree with what you have written. However, i strongly feel that there is need to change the behaviour of men and a few women particularly those who want to cling to power.

Moreso, these political parties talk about gender equality but they have failed to meet the SADC set standards on the percentage of women represented in politics.

We can talk about issues that affect us as women but as long as there is no propotional representation our issues will be thrown out of the window.

Why is it that whenever we call for propotional representation the men always ignore our call?

How long have women been crying our for gender inequality?

What have our female Members of Parliament done for us and who are they serving?

Are women's issues fully addressed when ministers always meet with high sounding people in 5 star hotels to discuss issues that affect women at grassroots?

These are some of the questions that trouble me whenever I think of gender equality in Zimbabwe. And whenever you raise such questions to the minisers there is always a gatekeeper who tells you to put your questions in writing when the questions have been raised in an open meeting/discussion.

We still have a long way to go but well done for holding the function. I aplauad your efforts to getting all those women unde one roof to discss issues that affect women in Zimbabwe.

NB: Try posting your articles on the space provided when you make your post and then attach the pictures by clicking browse. It makes it easier to read. I almost thought that you had send a blank post.

Gertrude

Fadzie's picture

Thank you for your remarks

Thanks Gertrude for the intriguing and thought provoking comments on the article,

But as I had stated before, I was one of the participants and not the organisers. When I wrote the article, it was based on what I observed, heard and even put my own thoughts.I think that's what makes WP(World Pulse) so unique.It gives us the space as women to articluate our thoughts and share them among other comrades in the struggle for gender equality .

I had even written the email addresses of the focal persons of the organisation, so that they will be in a better position to address your questions,

In as much as we appreciate the fact that we have a long way to go in challenging the status quo when it comes to addressing women's rights in Zimbabwe, it is also important to appreciate the fact that some positive changes have been noted in the current Zimbabwe context, where you find prominent female politicians from different political parties sitting side by side and agreeing on fundamental principles.Personally, that is an achievement of its own kind, but it takes a lot of effort, tolerance, dialogue for different parties to come together and agree on addressing women's rights issues even in political parties

I would strongly urge you to get in touch with WIPSU so that they also get to understand where you are coming from.

Thanks once again for the tips of posting messages and will improve next time. Since I am a beginner, I intend to learn each day

God bless

Fadzie

cad_communication's picture

Apologies

Dear Fadzie,
Many apologies. I thought that you were part of the WASP team and that you had compliled the report as a WASP member. SOrry about that. ANd you are right about WOrld Pulse. Isn't it fantastic to use this "Temple of Knowledge' to talk about issues that are affecting women and finding ways to addressing the challenges.

Looking forward seeing you on line and hearing reports from Harare.

Gertrude

Fadzie's picture

Apology accepted_Moving forward

Thank you Gertrude for the feedback and your apology has been accepted.I actually enjoy such constructive comments for they help me in deepening my analysis around critical issues on women's rights,

Will be in touch soon with more issues coming from Harare

Stay blessed

Fadzie

JaniceW's picture

Re post

Dear Fadzie,
This is an interesting topic and if you would like help posting it into your journal as Gertrude suggested, just let me know by clicking on "Reply" at the bottom of this comment box. I look forward to hearing more from you.
Janice

Fadzie's picture

Thanks Janice for the

Thanks Janice for the feedback. I had also responded to Gertrude's comments and will need advice on posting articles with pictures attached

Kind regards

JaniceW's picture

Posted

dear Fadzie.... as you see, I have posted it for you. Best wishes,
Janice

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