Maputo — The prominent Mozambican civil society body, the Institute for Multi-Party Democracy (IMD), through the Women's Political Academy, has demanded greater inclusion of women as candidates in the lists for the forthcoming municipal and general elections.
The demand was expressed on Tuesday, in Maputo, by an IMD representative, Lorena Mazive, during a round table on the subject "Towards Elections from a Gender Perspective: Opportunities and Challenges."
According to Mazive, the objective is to expand the political space for women in the context of municipal elections, towards gender parity.
"In the studies carried out by the academy, we understand and conclude that in the political parties' lists women are in the last positions. We divide the lists into four parts and women are placed in the last two parts. This scenario must change", claimed Mazive.
"If we, as a society, effectively want women represented in these elected governing institutions, aware of effective governance, if we want quality democracy, this only happens when it is inclusive and participatory. Therefore, the presence of women is essential to be able to respect the human rights of this group", she stressed.
According to the IMD representative, 42.3 per cent of the deputies in the current Mozambican parliament are women - which is very positive when compared to the previous parliament when only 37 per cent of the deputies were women. Nonetheless, she insisted on the need for gender parity, just as exists in the Mozambican government, where 50 per cent of the members are men and 50 per cent are women.
For her part, Ana Rita Sithole, a member of the Standing Commission of the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, said that, despite their under-representation "the ones who run the campaigns are the women. We say we don't appear prominently, but from each parliament to the next we want to increase our numbers."
Sithole said that the concern is also in the localities, where the gender issue is affected by socio-cultural aspects.
"We are an African country where the role of community activities and traditional leadership still has a great influence. There are areas where it is possible to see that women, in order to rise to certain levels, still have this problem, still face this difficulty, but they are fighting. The best way for them to fight is to study, and we see that they have greater capacity to argue, to fight, and to present themselves as the most suitable people to be elected", she said.