The Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN), has bemoaned the decline in the number of elected female parliamentarians, saying the government has to use legal measures to ensure women play a larger role in politics.
In a press statement released last Friday, the electoral watchdog urged the government to implement legislation to promote gender equality in politics, as it marked International Women’s Day.
“ZESN calls upon the government and political parties to enforce legislation that provides for equal representation of women in all spheres of life including in elected political positions.
“The decrease in the number of elected female parliamentarians in the 2018 harmonised elections calls for urgent measures to enhance the participation and representation of women,” read part of the statement.
Statistics from the Ministry of Information released the same day, showed that women were largely underrepresented in areas of business, politics and education.
According to the ministry, Zimbabwean women made 30 percent of both the cabinet and government permanent secretaries.
Senate was comprised of 43 percent females, parliament’s lower house 31 percent and councilors were just 13,3 percent women.
The statistics also showed there were currently no women as vice-chancellors in state universities.
The ZESN said the government had to create new opportunities for proportional representation, taking note that the provision for 60 seats set aside for women in the National Assembly had expired.
“With the clause on the reserved 60 proportional representation seats in the National Assembly lapsing after the 2018 election, ZESN notes that there is need for robust mechanisms to promote women’s presence and participation in politics and electoral processes to ensure gender equality as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” added ZESN official.