Women lament use of ‘Derogatory Terms’ in Churches and Politics

Representatives of the Christian religious fraternity have lamented the failure of church leaders to address cases where women in leadership positions are continuously referred to in derogatory terms that do not only dent their integrity but also lead to loss of confidence when vying for political office.

This was raised during a Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Dialogue that was conducted by Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) in partnership with Women’s Media for Development Foundation (WMDF). The dialogue was held in observance of the 16 Days of Activism that are an annual commemoration aimed at raising awareness on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and also formulating mitigation measures that can reduce cases of violence in society.

The past couple of days have seen a spike in the brazen usage of derogatory terms at National Assembly, which does not only defeat the campaign against all forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) but normalizes verbal abuse. In a recent National Assembly seating, a female Parliamentarian was stripped of all dignity when a male colleague decided to use one infamous term, ‘hure’(prostitute) to refer to her.

“That word is being used on women who stand up and choose to make a difference in the community,” stated Sarudzai Nyandoro, a female political leader. “It’s quite disheartening to note that the word is mainly used within two of the most influential social structures, such as the church and in government.”

Women cited how derogatory words had become a defining factor on whether or not they rise up the leadership ladder.

“Derogatory words deter women from being leaders as their husbands fear a loss of their social status,” added Nyandoro.

One panelist, in agreement with the sentiments raised by women on the usage of derogatory terms, Reverend Frank Mhlanga highlighted that such terms have a psychological effect on those it is used on, regardless of their gender.

He encouraged women to remain resolute and to never allow external factors such as derogatory terms to stand in their way of becoming strong willed leaders.

Mrs Magret Mwamuka, a marriage counsellor cited the importance of strengthening communication within families as such is the key to curbing Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

Source: Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD)