With the passing of the 2013 Constitution came an explicit commitment to gender equality in all aspects of Zimbabwean life, which was an important achievement of the women’s movement in all the lead up to the final draft. A crucial first step to ensuing compliance with the Constitution was for women to achieve parity in representation.

This is a preliminary report on a research project between the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU), the Institute for Young Women’s Development (IYWD) and HIVOS. The aim behind the study was to examine young women’s reasons for participating or not in the 2018 elections in the context of a pre- and post, matched-sample design. The decision was made to use IYWD as a case study, using its members.

Elections in Zimbabwe have always been bitterly contested affairs since 2000, and women have not been immune from all the problems that emerge during elections. There has been an endless cycle of women victimization when it comes to voting or being elected for political office or within political parties.

In order to facilitate evidence-based advocacy backed by empirical findings, IYWD partnered with the Research Advocacy Unit (RAU) to commission a desk and field research in the form of a national survey titled, “Survey on Young Women’s Political Participation: Her Right of Way, Give Way”. The research established the level of participation, particularly representation of young women in the county’s elective politics at Local Government and Parliamentary levels. The survey will cover all the country’s 10 provinces.

Specific Objectives of the survey were as follows:

The Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) conducted an online survey on young women’s views on current political developments and their hopes in the new dispensation. The purpose of the survey was to capture and amplify the views of young women that are usually not taken into account when it comes to issues of national interest. RAU recognizes that in the spirit of democratic governance young women’s voices matter and are important in contributing to national development.

Every year the world comes together to commemorate 16 days of Activism Against GBVfrom the 25th of November to the 10th of December centred around a theme. 2017‟s theme was “Together we can end GBV in Education.” It is against this backdrop that the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) and Girls Legacy carried out a study to interrogate the forms and levels of GBV affecting young women within schools.

This report examines women’s political wings in Zimbabwe, and is a follow up to a previous report produced in June 2017.11 Women’s wings are common in any political party, but the question is, in the era of seeking gender equality, are they necessary and relevant? It has been said that they are a critical player in any political matrix. However, outside of popularity politics one wonders if they are still necessary; in fact, what is the key mandate of these wings and is this mandate being fulfilled?

There is agreement that though efforts continue to be made in improving the plight of women and availing better opportunities which include access to education and the laws that seek to end early child marriages, government continues to pay lip service towards meeting its international obligations in ensuring gender parity and participation of women especially in decision making bodies. The consensus about the need to increase women in decision making and in politics goes as far as that.

Dear Rita

In commenting on the issue of proof of residence for women, Justice Makarau said ‘They can register to vote by getting a letter from their husband confirming they still reside with him. If you are not in good books you can still register by depositing an affidavit yourself. There is confusion between an affidavit and an affirmation, but yes, people can affirm where they reside and this will help homeless women.

Young women are interested in politics but have no faith in political parties. They feel that political parties do not have their interests at heart and that they are not concerned about the ordinary person: their main concern is in enriching themselves and their inner circles. These young women summed up the key governance problems in Zimbabwe as failed government, failed opposition parties, self-seeking politicians, disrespect for the rule of law, corruption, and the lack of citizen participation.

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