Women in Politics Support Unit
Women’s representation and participation in decision making is low in Zimbabwe. There are many barriers such as:
- cultural attitudes on women’s roles
- lack of policies within political parties and government to adequately promote their participation.
Women make up:
- 19.6% of Parliament
- 10% of local government.
In addition, the few women who make it have little information on their roles and women constituents’ voices are usually excluded.
Therefore, although women are affected by decisions made in Parliament and local government, they do not participate equally in making those decisions. Their voices, needs and priorities are not fully taken into account.
What we are doing
With funding from UK Aid, from the Department of International Development, Womankind is working with Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) to increase women’s participation in Parliament and local government ensuring that the voices of women constituents are included.
With our partners we are:
- Training 20 women MPs and 20 councillors on their roles and linking them with their women constituents
- Establishing 8 constituency consultative forums made up of 400 women’s constituents where women leaders can meet with them regularly
- Lobbying political parties and government to adopt and implement effective gender quotas to achieve 50% representation by 2013
- Training 1,000 prospective candidates in leadership skills, gender and women’s human rights, and preparing them for elections
What we have achieved so far
- Constituency forums have provided a platform for 400 women, previously excluded from participating, to raise their concerns
- 2 out of the 3 main political parties have adopted gender quotas for women candidates in Parliamentary elections
- There has been Increased support for women’s participation by key leaders including President of the Chiefs’ Council who publicly pledged to support women’s equal representation
Millie Maravanyika has been a member of the Constituency Consultative Forum (CCF) supported by our partner WiPSU since 2005. She is a mother of five and is working for the City of Harare:
“I was beaten up during the 2005 elections for being a supporter of the MDC. But I did not give up my right to participate in politics. If I participate then it encourages other women to participate as well”.
Millie who tested HIV positive 6 years ago has been receiving treatment since. “I disclosed my status to the MP and to other members of the CCF because I wanted to show that it is not embarrassing to test positive. You can still lead a normal life and participate in the development of your community even if you are HIV positive”.
“I joined the CCF because I want to encourage other women living with HIV and AIDS. I am not discriminated against by the MP or fellow CCF members because of my status. My ambition is to become a councillor and I can do it with support from other women”.
Gloria Madevhana is 29 years old and expecting her first child. She has been a member of the CCF since 2003:
“I became a member of the CCF because I believe that women can make a difference to their lives and that of their communities….. Meeting other women during CCF meetings is very inspiring, especially for me as a young woman. I have gained a lot of knowledge that I previously did not have. I had very little knowledge on the constitution but now as a CCF member I know what a constitution is. I have the confidence to participate in the consultation process when the government is going to ask what we would like to include in the new constitution.”