BY Brenna Matendere
THE Midlands chapter of the Women Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ) has resolved to lobby key stakeholders and government to extend the parliamentary quota system beyond 2023 when it is supposed to expire.
The resolution was made at a consensus-building meeting held in Gweru yesterday.
Section 124 of the Constitution provides for the equal representation of women in Parliament through the appointment of 60 non-constituency legislators.
During the meeting, women drawn from various parts of the province and civic society organisations noted that by 2023, the goal of the quota system would not have been achieved.
Florence Guzha, the WCOZ vice-chairperson for the chapter, said there were still few women making it into Parliament and the removal of the quota system would further decimate gender balance in the august House.
“We are still far from the 50-50 ratio of women against men in Parliament, which was one of the broader objectives of the quota system. The 10 years which were provided for have not yielded great results as yet, so we have resolved to lobby for amendments to ensure the system is extended beyond 2023,” she said.
Guzha also noted that women constituted only 11,5% of the current Cabinet.
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“In addition, out of 335 MPs, only 83 are women, so it shows that our numbers are still very low, hence the desire to extend the system,” Guzha said.
Midlands State University lecturer in the local governance department and an expert in international development, Virginia Makanza, said Zimbabwe was still below the gender representation standards.
“Sadc had initially set 2015 as the year for the 50-50 gender representation, but in 2019, we have not achieved that feat as a country. So it is plausible to have the quota system be extended,” she said.
“On the other hand, various other factors like change of negative attitudes of men towards women would also need to be corrected as well as breaking of patriarchy myths.”