HomeNewsDabengwa hails women political empowerment initiative

Dabengwa hails women political empowerment initiative

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OPPOSITION Zapu leader, Dumiso Dabengwa, has hailed the launch of a women political empowerment initiative, Women’s Electoral Convergence (WEC 18), saying the programme would go a long way in enabling women to assume influential political positions and make them equal players in the country’s political landscape.

BY SILAS NKALA

WEC 18 was launched in Harare on Saturday.

In a solidarity speech read on his behalf by Zapu secretary-general, Strike Mnkandla, Dabengwa said his party was committed to promoting equality between men and women.

“This important commitment must be seen in the context of the hurdles and distortions within parties and in the social and cultural environment, that affect its meaningful implementation,” he said.

“Others have shown that women are increasingly assuming roles as their own mentors and not content with window-dressing to portray effective participation when issues affecting them are used and discarded at the whims of their male counterparts.

“Initiatives like the WEC 18 can help reverse that by profiling the capacity and drive of women politicians across party divisions. There is a trend of women going for senior positions in political parties, but this should go beyond fashion, so such women are not taken less seriously than men in similar positions.”

“Our 2013 Constitution has advanced formulations for women’s rights as human rights. If all elements that are gender-sensitive were implemented in earnest, there would be less need for advocacy to promote women’s leadership role.”

Dabengwa said gender discussion and how it impacts on structures and decision-making should not be left to women alone.

He said it was the business of men too, because many of the constraints on women leaders were grounded in social attitudes and narrow appreciation of what gender equity could contribute to better governance and equity.

“Put simply, the fact that women are the majority in our population, their under-representation in leadership represents lost opportunity for using their talent for national advancement. Provisions for gender equality are not matched by the experience of those who have ventured into the bruising world of political competition,” Dabengwa said.

“Zapu is aware of the progress women have achieved against great odds, and it is our hope that as Zimbabwe goes to the elections in 2018 and after, there will be more effort to mainstream issues affecting women political leaders.”

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