Activists call for more female candidates

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UN Women governance and women’s political participation advisor Goretti Mudzongo

BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA

WOMEN activists have encouraged political parties to nominate more female candidates which they claim have better chances of winning in elections.

This came out on Thursday at the validation meeting of Zimbabwe media guidelines on women’s leadership and political participation for editors organised by Gender Links in partnership with United Nation (UN) Women.

Statistics show that there has been a decline in women representation in local government from 19 percent in 2008 to 13.4% in 2018.

The decline has been attributed to lack of adherence to gender equality principles in internal political party processes.

In the Mach 26 by-elections, out of the 118 candidates for the 28 vacant national assembly seats, there were only 16 female candidates.

Out of the 16 female candidates, five won the elections.

UN Women governance and women’s political participation advisor Goretti Mudzongo said women and girls have a significant influence in building sustainable peace and resilience.

“Women can have greater chances of winning in elections when their political parties adhere to a fair representation on fielding candidates,”Mudzongo said.

“This is because Zimbabwean politics is by political affiliation hence people vote for any candidate fielded by a political party of their choice.  This therefore means that political parties have a greater responsibility to ensure that women have fair representation.”

Women’s organisations have also bemoaned limited coverage of women aspiring for top political positions in the media.

Statistics released by the Media Monitors of Zimbabwe (MMZ) show that in 2022, women sources accounted for less than 24%.

“There has been an inequality on the representation of women in the media, on news sources for instance,” MMZ executive director, Patience Zirima said.

Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) executive director Sitabile Dewa said: “We encourage the media to put on gender lenses when planning and covering issues that are affecting women. We also encourage the media to explore deeper and unravel the challenges that are being faced by women.”