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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles


  • Gender audit of the June 2013 voters' roll
    Research and Advocacy Unit and The Women’s Trust
    July 30, 2013

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    Introduction

    There is growing international recognition that women's participation in elections is critical if a country is aiming to achieve a democratic and representative society. The United Nations has recognized that achieving sustainable and durable peace requires the full involvement and equal participation of women in conflict resolution and subsequent peace building. In its Resolution 1325, the UN stresses the importance of integrating a gender perspective in the formulation and application of agreements aimed at establishing the foundations for a stable peace. In Zimbabwe, women make up 52% of the population, but they are not as visible as their male counterparts in political and economic spaces. Ever since the first democratic elections in 1980 women have made up the majority of the voters, but have yet to see the influence that this might be expected to bring in their representation in Parliament and government. Even the number of women voting has not had an impact on the thematic areas discussed in parliament or government either. This is not peculiar to Zimbabwe only, but is true all over the world: a 130-country survey conducted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in 2004 indicates that women hold an average of only 15.4 per cent of the elected seats. Rwanda has the highest number of women in Parliament (56%) and this is making a difference for the women there.

    After the 2008 elections Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) conducted a survey of over 2000 women to ascertain women's views on politics, elections, violence and peace. This was the first of its kind in Zimbabwe. The findings of this survey showed that women believe that they should participate in politics as much as men and an increasing numbers of women are voting, although in less numbers than are actually eligible to vote; they are often deterred from this by administrative issues such as failure to register, long queues, not having identity documents as well as by violence and intimidation. Most women believe that violence is unacceptable during elections but 9% agreed that violence is acceptable showing that there is a perception that violence and elections are inseparable. This was a view given across the political divide. Sixty two percent reported that they have experienced violence during elections particularly the pre run off period in 2008.

    RAU in partnership with the Women's Trust carried out an audit of the June 2013 voters' roll and this analysis touched a little on gender. This report is an analysis purely of the gender data as a way to understand the registration of men versus women, the registration of young women under 30 compared with the over 30s as well as to establish the gender specific irregularities.

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