THE Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) says the country’s continued failure to adhere to the Constitution is a huge setback to achieving gender equality and women empowerment.

Currently, a major bone of contention for the country’s women is the recent appointment of the country’s two Vice-Presidents and Cabinet members whose majority constituted more men than women, which they say goes against the spirit and letter of the country’s 50/50 representation commitment.

According to Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ), gender representation in the presidium appointments highlighted a 100% win for men against women.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa appointed Kembo Mohadi and Constantino Chiwenga as his deputies.

In remarks read by ZGC chief executive Virginia Muwanigwa at a function organised by the WCoZ in Harare yesterday, ZGC commissioner Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe said there was a lack of a sustained culture of constitutionalism and accountability on gender equality and women’s rights in Zimbabwe as per international, regional and local legal provisions.

“The country’s continual failure to adhere to the constitutional provisions is a huge setback towards achieving gender equality and total advancement of women,” she said.

Mukahanana-Sangarwe blamed political parties for not availing an equal platform for females.

“Political parties, lack of accountability to gender equality and equity issues remains a huge barrier towards meaningful participation of women in governance processes. Gender equality issues have largely remained on the periphery and accorded less priority hence any efforts to promote or implement constitutional provisions are easily disregarded,” she said.

Mukahanana-Sangarwe noted that because of lack of buy-in from party leadership, women remain sidelined from exercising their rights to participate on equal grounds.

WCoZ chairperson Madrine Chiku red-flagged the decline in women representation in key decision-making areas, saying this needed to be resolved.

“Only 22 women out of the 70 were duly elected as members of the National Assembly in their respective constituencies and this represents 31% of the total number of women who were contesting for National Assembly seats in the August 23, 2023 elections and 10% of the total number of directly elected members of Parliament,” she said.