RAU conducted an online survey to establish young women's views on politics as we prepare for elections next year (2018) as a follow up to research conducted with groups of middle class women in 2016. This research is important as it contributes to the efforts by other organisations and movements to encourage women to participate more in national governance.
This opinion piece makes a case for quotas, arguing their need as a correction for past practices and a system that has long proven its importance in achieving gender parity. Despite the challenges quotas present, there is need to extend the lifespan of the quotas in the National Assembly beyond 2023 to fully see the results.
In 2013, Zimbabwe enacted a new Constitution, including strong gender equality provisions that outlaw discrimination against women. The new Constitution promotes women’s full participation in all aspects of society and abolishes all “laws, customs, traditions, and practices” that infringe upon women’s rights and equality with men. But the Constitution’s mandate for gender equality is not necessarily reflected in Zimbabwe’s existing laws or practices.
Women are under-represented in most if not all of Zimbabwe’s political institutions, irrespective of the fact that the Constitution, in sections 17 and 56 states that there should be equal representation. This current opinion piece discusses the problems and offers a range of solutions.
It is conventionally assumed that the middle class will be the strongest defenders of democracy, and therefore it might be assumed that middle class women would be similarly so. However, this does not seem to be true for Zimbabwe where the middle class, and particularly young middle class women, seem disengaged from political life.
A serious question in gender politics is the participation of women in politics and particularly in representative politics. In Zimbabwe, this has been addressed through a proportional representation mechanism that has added 60 women to parliament, but, however, this is due to a quota system, and, the number of women directly elected has dropped significantly. Representation is however not the only issue of importance, and the participation of women in political life generally is equally important.
In this opinion editorial Derek Matyszak looks briefly at the Constitutional Court's recent judgment on Child Marriage, and while appaluding the removal of odious laws around child marriage from Zimbabwe's law, takes issue with how this was achieved, the reasoning of the Deputy Chief Justice, who wrote the judgment, and suggests a dangerous precedent has been set.
In June 2014 the former Vice President Joice Mujuru said: “We are declaring war against rape and sexual violence”.
Speaking at the launch of the National Campaign against Rape and Sexual Abuse she also pointed out: “that although Zimbabwe has passed a number of laws ..... gaps still remain in the implementation of these laws and ensuring perpetrators are given deterrent sentences.”
With the recent swearing-in of Zimbabwe’s Gender Commissioners, RAU revisits some of the criticisms raised by civil society about the Commission - and adds some of its own.