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.

In 2016 we continued to work in accordance with our 2013 to 2022 strategic plan that includes the three programmatic areas: active citizenship, community security and influencing policy producing more than 20 reports, blogs and opinions pieces. In addition we adopted a new advocacy approach that focused more on on the dissemination of our research reports  and advocacy activities to various stakeholders.
To read more about our work in 2016 please read our Annual Report 2016. For further information you can reach us on 04302764 or email- or zw.

This preliminary report examines some of the changes that have taken place in Zimbabwean women’s agency since 2004. It follows on from several analyses of the Afrobarometer data in recent years, all as part of the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) programme on active citizenship, which, with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), has looked at youth and violence, and women’s agency. It is also part of an on-going examination of citizenship more generally being carried out by RAU and the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI).Citizenship can easily be described legally under the Constitution in Zimbabwe, but the underlying meaning is not so simple. Is the meaning of citizenship republican, communitarian or liberal in Zimbabwe? And how can women exert agency in a strongly patriarchal society such as Zimbabwe?

Citizenship is a complex issue to define, with both legal definitions and political definitions sometimes at odds with each other. Beginning with the groundbreaking work of T. H. Marshall in the immediate post-war period, scholars and commentators have wrestled with the nature of citizenship. In Zimbabwe, the terms has minimal definition in the amended Constitution of 2013, but its meaning in political life has yet to be clearly defined, and it may be argued that it there are contested views of who is a “citizen” in Zimbabwe, with attempts even to exclude many people residing in Zimbabwe.
This paper, which is part of a broader programme examining citizenship and women in Zimbabwe, examines briefly the state of current arguments about the nature and application of citizenship, and extends this into a short consideration about what is meant by “active citizenship”. This is then extended further into a consideration in of “active citizenship” and “social capital” amongst women in Zimbabwe.

As we demonstrated in a recent study on risk aversion, Operation Murambatsvina [OM] had severe effects upon the population of Zimbabwe (Masunungure et al. 2017). The percentage of Zimbabweans that reported being “risk takers” in 1999 was 84%, but this dropped to a paltry 13% in 2005. Possibly the worst example of forced displacement in the past four decades, OM was recognised for having extreme adverse effects upon citizens’ shelter, livelihoods, health, and psychological well-being, but there have only been few studies on the long-term effects on citizen’s agency. An Afrobarometer report in 2006 detailed many of the economic and social consequences of OM (Afrobarometer. 2006), but what has not been examined in any great detail has been the consequences of OM on political agency.

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. An initial step to address gender inequality and obtain tangible benefits for women and girls is to ensure that laws and policies meet the requirements of the new Constitution.
The Research & Advocacy Unit (RAU) undertook an analysis of the gender equality provisions under Zimbabwe’s new Constitution and compared these provisions to those constituted by select countries in the region. 

New research by the Research & Advocacy Unit documents the experiences of women legislators under proportional representation and the perceptions other MPs have on the special measure to increase women representation. This report explores what challenges and opportunities the current MPs under PR have and what the next steps should be after the expiry of Section 124 in 2023. Learning from the shortcomings of the current quota system, the report further seeks to explore how women should utilise the current quota and what is the strategy beyond 2023 to ensure that gender parity is realised.

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.
The motivation for the argument comes in the aftermath of the recent ground-breaking meeting held by female members of the opposition political parties in Zimbabwe. Attended by over 1,000 women, the strong consensus was that women are grossly under-represented in all the policy making bodies, and that it is time that this problem was seriously confronted.

Zimbabweans, just like many other Africans, may be described as ‘voters” but not yet ‘citizens” (Bratton & Logan.2006). Mahmood Mamdani’s (Mamdani. 1996) classic thesis about citizens and subjects in late colonialism seems to have no greater application than to Zimbabwe, a country in which the voice of the citizen has been largely non-existent since the colonisation in 1897. The idea that citizens are at the heart of the state has never been a central notion for the state in either Rhodesia or Zimbabwe. The majority of the population were denied political voice of any significant kind virtually until the end of the settler state, forced into a brutal and bitter civil war after 1965, and were largely relegated to the minimalist role of mere voters since independence in 1980.
Surprisingly, studies have shown that Zimbabweans are a citizenry with high demand for democracy, high participation in elections, but very low demand for accountability. What might explain this? Is this “risk-aversion” (Masunungure. 2006), or is it something deeper in the Zimbabwean political psyche, what some might call Zimbabwe’s “political culture”?