20 February 2013

Zimbabwe: 'Vote for a Woman Candidate' Campaign Set for Launch

THE Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) will soon launch a campaign for the support and election of female candidates during this year's national elections.

Dubbed the "Vote for a woman candidate" lobby, the campaign hopes to achieve a 50/50 representation between men and women in both government and the private sector by 2015 in line with the Southern African Development Community Protocol on Gender and Development.

WiPSU programmes manager, Patricia Muwandi, said the campaign would push political parties to create space within their structures to allow women to fully participate in politics without hindrance.

"Also, the campaign will engage other women to support their colleagues who have political aspirations. The public, including men and women, will be educated on the need to also look at women as leaders, which is also a way of advancing gender equality," she said.

"The campaign will be launched when the mood for the 2013 elections picks up and will run parallel to the election campaigns done by political parties," added Muwandi.

Political parties have traditionally been seen as frustrating the advancement of women into leadership positions largely because males control the nomination process.

But a proposed new constitution whose fate will be decided at a referendum next month has put smiles on women's faces by advocating for gender balance at all levels, including in board appointments.

The draft charter assures women of 60 seats under propositional representation over and above the other seats that might be won by members of the fairer sex.

Section 4.13(2) of the draft constitution states: "Women and men have the right to equal treatment, including the right to equal opportunities in political, economic, cultural and social spheres."

With only 18 percent women representation in the current Parliament, Zimbabwe falls below the regional average of 25 percent.

Be that as it may, Zambia has 15 percent representation while the Democratic Republic of Congo has 12 percent.

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