WOMEN Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) executive director, Ms. Samukeliso Khumalo, urged women to take up leadership roles whenever opportunities to do so present themselves.
Speaking at a public meeting held at the Small City Hall in Bulawayo on April 7, Khumalo said: “Women need to participate on issues to do with public leadership as decision makers or in influencing those that are in decision making.”
She added that it was WILD’s anticipation to see more women occupy elected positions in 2018.
“Out of 355 members of the upper and lower houses in Zimbabwe, only 83 are women,” said Khumalo. “Before 2013, women representation in parliament was at 19%. “But from then to date, the number has increased to 32%, a sign that there is an improvement.”
Khumalo added that women were hindered from taking part in political issues by the violence that accompanies Zimbabwean elections, the electoral system, and lack of financial muscle to mobilise voters.”
Political giants from different parties graced the occasion and showed concern over women representation in various institutions.
Dr. Gorden Moyo, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) secretary general, said women were stuck in the periphery of decision making positions.
Moyo also urged women to take advantage of information communication technologies (ICTs) and freely express themselves on social media.
Moyo took advantage of the platform to warm people in Bulawayo against fanning hatred and discrimination on the basis of the difference of their political affiliation.
Professor Welshman Ncube chipped in and concurred with Khumalo: “The violent political situation in Zimbabwe scares women away from politics. All national institutions are lagging behind in terms of empowering women into leadership positions.”
“In Rwanda, 56% of members of parliament are women and in South Africa, out of 25 cabinet Ministers, 13 are women,” Ncube said.
Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) leader, Dumiso Dabengwa urged women to desist from the “pull her down syndrome” which has been giving men leverage to rising above them.
The patriarchal system upon which most African societies were established is the major stumbling block to the elevation of women to leadership positions.