On 30 January 2019, Zimbabwe's social media was awash with hashtags such as #BlackWednesday, #iSpeakForSis where various individuals and organisations decided to stand against numerous reports on rape and sexual violence that have been reported in our country over the past two weeks.

The 2018 elections were a slap in the face for women. No more women elected
to the House of Assembly than in 2013 and even fewer elected to local
government than in 2013. This occurred despite the requirement in the
Constitution for gender equality as well as sustained efforts to persuade the
government and the political parties to increase the numbers of women. This
was more painful given the enthusiasm that women in Zimbabwe showed for
participating in the elections, with even more women registering as voters than

This study looked into the factors that influence women’s political participation with a representative sample of 329 young women aged between 18 and 35. The differences in rural and urban in this research show how there is a need for a shift in how we perceive these demographics. The research-highlights the risks women face when they interface with politics as active or passive participants or when their spouses or close relations are actively engaged in politics.

Whilst women comprise the majority of Zimbabwean citizens, they are some distance from this fact respected in the composition of the various elected and appointed bodies in the Zimbabwean polity.

Zimbabwe is undergoing extensive discussions among female representatives, members of political parties and civil society groups about the importance of quotas in elected bodies. Previous RAU reports have examined the issues around Proportional Representation and the views of women about participation, and builds on 20 previous reports around these issues.