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WiPSU newsletter – December 2013
Women in Politics Support Unit (WIPSU)
December 06, 2013

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Women Parliamentarians speak

One of the important roles of Parliamentarians is to pass relevant and new legislation. They do this by debating in parliament and flagging the issues that are relevant for their constituencies. This is what some of the women in Parliament have had to say in the last month;

“Hon. members, our task is to debate and urgently amend the laws that govern health care. While debating these issues, we should not forget to support any measures that will be brought before us which are aimed at improving the conditions of service for our health workers, the civil service and our security forces.” Hon Thembani on the Motion on the Presidential Speech.

“I want to specifically mention the, White Gold, cotton prices that have been poorly priced and the farmers have been left with nothing to take home. The majority of those who suffer from this problem are women. The producer price for cotton should be adjusted or else the people will be discouraged from engaging in active and meaningful agriculture to boost the economy. The new Government should put in place policies, which address the issue of infrastructure rehabilitation. The access road between Mhondoro – Mamina, Turf - Kadoma, Chakari and Sanyati is bad. Kadoma – Sanyati road is very bad. Mr. Speaker Sir, rehabilitation of these roads should be a priority.” Hon Sogorani on the Motion on the Presidential Speech.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, we all know the effects of power cuts; power cuts are mainly felt by the women and young girls. I am trying to imagine what could happen if a woman was in labour and there is a power cut in that labour ward. I think we really need to take issues of energy seriously because it affects women adversely.” Hon. Anastancia Ndhlovu on the Motion on the Inquiry into the power sector in Zimbabwe.

When the issue of equal representation in parliament is put on the table the debate always shifts to discussions of quality versus quantity. The debate being that men are able to better represent citizens in Parliament and that even the women who are in parliament are not playing their representative role. However, if we look at the statistics generated by the Research and Advocacy Unit (What happened in Parliament? An analysis of the participation of MPs 2012 to 2013), women speak in Parliament more than the men do. In the 7th Parliament of Zimbabwe 15% of the men in Senate did not speak at all compared to 10% of women. In the House of Assembly only 20% of the women did not speak at all as compared to 26% of men.

When we look at the issues that the women are raising in parliament, as highlighted above, there are two things that are clear. Firstly women are and have been raising issues in Parliament debates, more so than their male counterparts. Secondly the issues that they are raising are gendered in their nature while also raising pertinent issues that will affect, and benefit all the citizens of Zimbabwe.

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