Zimbabwe: Young Women Protest As Older Peers Cling to Political Jobs

21 September 2020

Whilst women, in general, face a multiplicity of barriers that significantly limit their participation in leadership positions, young women and women with disability face even greater challenges, research results have revealed.

This is in the 'Research on The Implications of Young Women and Women With Disabilities Marginalised in leadership and decision-Making Processes - A Case of Mutasa district Manicaland province.

The 2020 report was launched Friday by Women Academy For Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE).

"Young women highlighted the fact that apart from their marginalised gender, they suffered from stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination on the basis of their young age," Batanayi Gwangawa, WALPE programmes manager said while presenting key findings of the report.

"They are often told they do not have necessary experience to lead or to contribute to serious discussion.

"Respondents also shared how they were often reminded that they did not participate in Zimbabwe's war of liberation and therefore not fit to take up leadership positions in society."

They also bemoaned the issue of gatekeepers highlighting that older women in leadership were not giving up senior positions, they occupy some top positions for decades thus leaving no chance for upward mobility for young women leaders.

"We are afraid of taking up leadership positions because older women do not create space for us, in one incident an older woman told me she was going to use witchcraft against me because I had challenged her in an election, I had to pull out of the race," one of the respondents said.

Some of the young women also said that there was a lot of confusion and splits especially in the opposition parties thus resulting in most women shunning politics.

"They indicated that there are many splinter opposition parties thus confusing them on which viable ones to join," Gwangawa said.

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