International Women’s Day is commemorated annually around the world on the 8th of March to celebrate women.
This year the theme is #BalanceforBetter. This theme resonates with Zimbabwe’s intention to fulfill gender balance as enshrined in the constitution. It is important for Zimbabwe to build a gender-balanced world so as to ensure inclusion and equality.
It is imperative to note that although steps are being taken towards securing 50-50 representation of women in politics, there has been little progress in fulfilling the requirements of this notion.
In Zimbabwe, only a handful of women have made it into Parliament and in local authorities.
Out of a total of 210 parliamentary seats, only 26 women were directly elected into parliament while most contenders were thrown under the bus. The clause that allowed for 60 parliamentary seats to be reserved for women also expires in 2023.
Zimbabwe is among several countries in SADC that still has a low representation of women in top political decision-making positions, particularly in Cabinet and other important political structures.
Presently, cabinet consists of a paltry four women. Under-representation of women remains a point of debate as it is among the most important approaches outlined in gender statutes including the Beijing Platform for Action.
While we celebrate the life changing stories of incredible women making strides in their different spaces, we realise that it is not only in politics where gender equality is null and void but in almost all strata of the environment including science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Involvement of women in all these spheres will open up opportunities for them to break the barriers that exist in politics, economy and social life.
It is equally essential to note that balance is not just a women’s issue. It cuts across all sectors in the private and public spaces ranging from gender balance in the workplace and all other spheres of life.
Source: Women’s Institute for Leadership Development