Women leaders and activists from Zimbabwe and Botswana yesterday kicked off a two-day cross-generational summit to discuss women’s political participation and leadership.
The conference which is hosted by Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) Zimbabwe and Botswana, is scheduled for the 12th and 13th June at Avani and is aimed at stimulating dialogue and creating a platform for solidarity on issues affecting women in politics.
Gender Links’ Chigedze Chinyepi facilitated the first day’s proceedings, introducing the subject: The landscape of women’s political participation in Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Various speakers including Councillors Motamma Horatius and Catherine Kambazembi from Botswana, as well as Carol Moyo, Rutendo Chima and Tapuwa Chaibva from Zimbabwe shared their experiences as youth leaders in the political space.
Likewise, Councillors Kebaneilwe Mmesetse, Lilian Griesmeir and Pushie Manyeneng alongside their Zimbabwean counterparts Cllr Idirashe Dongo and Beauty Mushura in their capacity as seasoned politicians shared their experiences and gave advice to those coming after them.
The panel agreed that there is a continuous decline in women’s political participation and representation across the region.
Lack of economic empowerment, sexual harassment, male dominance, lack of legal frameworks, nepotism and stereotypes were outlined as some of the key issues which disturb women’s participation in politics.
While the Zimbabweans prided themselves in their constitution which is said to be gender sensitive, they advised Batswana to also push for enabling acts when calling for a constitution which strives for gender equality, something which they overlooked.
Media veteran and gender activist, Pamela Dube, closed it off by addressing the women on the use of media to enhance women’s participation and visibility during elections.
The conversation continues today under the topic: Journey of women in local governance.