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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Where is the voice of young women in politics
    Youth Forum
    June 27, 2013

    Is it because young women are not saying anything at all or their voices are just not being heard in the political arena of Zimbabwe? The participation of women in general is worrisome, not to mention the Zimbabwean young women. It is quiet disturbing that young women do not really voice out their concerns, their voices are just enveloped in either young people’s voices or women’s voices and their real voice nonexistent. The young women in Zimbabwe are thinking they are already at a disadvantage by the mere fact that they are young, worse off the combination of being young and being a woman. This is becoming clearer even as we approach the Zimbabwean 2013 harmonized elections. Most young women do not even consider taking a prudent step by going for voter registration.

    Of cause Zimbabwe has done a lot in addressing gender equality and women participation, in fact the Zimbabwean government is a signatory to various regional and international conventions, treaties, declarations and protocols. Zimbabwean women have also been put at an even greater advantage by the recently passed constitution which expands women’s rights. Despite all the significant processes and changes being made in the areas of legislation, reform, the legal, socio, economic and political participation of young women remains very low. Young people have everything to gain from the democratic processes of the country and young women have an equal opportunity and they should take advantage of this. Women make a greater percentage of this country so they should be contributing more to the political and democratic processes of Zimbabwe. It should be highlighted that the contribution of women in the electoral and any other political processes is very essential in the emergence as well as consolidation of democracy. The current situation proves that young women are preoccupied by other issues and it never occurs to them that this is the moment for them to take charge and make a change for them and for the future generations.

    The majority of young women in Zimbabwe tend to resent any political process and they do not want to be affiliated with any political party. All they do is murmur about how uneasy the situation in Zimbabwe has become and how a democratic transition can bring changes in their lives. They do not know the power they hold and how revolutionary it can be.

    However, we cannot entirely blame the Zimbabwean young women for being voiceless and not taking part in the political processes. Although a lot has been done to enhance women participation, there are a lot of impediments to their active participation and the political climate is still very hostile for women in general and even worse for young women. Already, young women are at a disadvantage than young men as they tend to be exposed to less political information and discussion than are young men. Young women generally get less encouragement to run for office or being part of any political activities than young men. This starts even at college where young women’s involvement in politics is accompanied by a lot of criticism, attacking of private life and gender prejudices. Young women, thus carry this with them into the community and they just stay as the bench warmers in politics. Even when they get into politics, women tend to drive men’s agendas and never for their fellow women. This is the reason why Zimbabwe remains with just a handful of women politicians.

    In 2009, the inclusion of women in the cabinet increased with women getting significant posts including the Vice President Joyce Mujuru, President of the Senate, Edna Madzongwe and the Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe. There are a lot other women in power but most of them have not been doing much towards the elevation of young women into political positions. These women representatives should be promoting democracy and encouraging young women to actively participate but it seems some of them contribute to the violation of women’s rights to peace and choice during elections. Women’s decisions are generally made for them by their counter parts, who are in turn influenced by men in power. The ordinary women are indirectly told what to do, what to like and the party to vote for, therefore suppressing their voices.

    Zimbabwe has lot of dynamic, versatile and talented young women who can make a change and these young women just need to put their heads up and stick out for themselves and for the rest of the young people. This is a call for the young women of Zimbabwe to actively participate in the current democratic process. Young people are the game changers and young women should know that they can make a difference. As an organization for young people, the Youth Forum strongly advises young women to take a stance in the 2013 harmonized elections and contribute in making a change for the Zimbabwean young people. The future is in our hands and we know what is best for us so let us not be left out in this progression.

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