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Gender commission to capacitate female politicians

The Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) has embarked on a program to capacitate marginalised women who aspire to participate in politics.

In Zimbabwe women’s representation in political leadership remains low, despite the introduction of a women’s quota in 2013 owing to a number of issues.

The program titled Women Rise in Politics (WRiP), set to kick start in the third quarter of 2021, targets young women, women living in rural areas, women with disabilities, women living with HIV, among other diversity from various political parties as well as independent candidates.

In a statement issued Monday, ZGC noted that the program aims at providing knowledge, skills, and competencies which will enable aspiring women candidates to effectively participate in political decision-making positions.

The participants will be attached to specific women mentors to assist them with practical guidance and leadership.

“The Commission, in partnership and with support from the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UNWomen), has developed the initiative for aspiring women candidates,” the statement read.

“From a gender perspective, the political environment in Zimbabwe is highly toxic and polarised. The country’s political domain is infested with gender intolerance which often manifests in violence, name calling, body shaming, sexual exploitation and harassment, stereotyping and systemic exclusion –predominantly against women. These practices hinder women’s meaningful participation.”

ZGC noted that women do not only constitute 52% of the total population but are also the majority of voters in Zimbabwe and despite these facts, they (women) only hold 23% of elective parliamentary seats, 13.3% of local government seats and 48% of the Senate.

“Regional and international normative frameworks call for an enabling environment for developing and strengthening women’s capacity to build their confidence, resilience and coping mechanisms necessary to participate in political leadership,” the statement read.

“The broader objectives of this program are to Increase representation and participation of women in politics; change the perceptions around gender and leadership effectiveness; and ensure more inclusive and gender-responsive electoral processes.”

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