Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) in collaboration with other Commissions that rally behind women in politics met yesterday in the capital to review the challenges faced by women.

Challenges faced by women

WiPSU highlighted that the 2018 Harmonized were the most observed in the history of Zimbabwe. Of the findings gathered by women associations, they discovered that women in politics face a number of challenges which include hate speech and recall. The Zimbabwean society does not seem to be friendly and it does embrace when women rise to positions of influence.

Hate speech towards towards women

2018 candidates were subjected to intense hate speech. According to WiPSU’s findings, 1022 incidences of Hate speech were recorded which directly targeted women’s marital status, sex or gender. They added that men were also victims of hate speech but women were subjected to twice as much compared to their male counterparts.

Hate speech: A tool used against women

In addition, hate speech was recorded at rallies,press conferences, print media, and electronic News Media. WiPSU alluded that the ZEC commissioner, Priscilla Chigumba experienced hate speech during press conferences and on social media during pre-election and post election period.  Hate speech has been a tool that has been used to dampen women’s spirits in the political arena which has caused more women to take the backstage.

Women too hesitant to participate in politics

WiSPU also reviewed the 2018 elections on the number of contestants. WiPSU’s findings highlight that a total of 9011 contested in the 2018 elections. However, only 1822 women, representing 20% of contesting candidates participated in this year’s election. This shows that most women still do not want to take active roles in driving politics of the nation.

Women do not participate in politics because they fear recall

Hellen Dingani, Deputy Clerk in the parliament pointed out that the reason why women do not participate in parliament is that they fear recall from their parties. In this year’s report, 63% of men are the ones who participated in the parliament against 37% of women. The other reason why women in parliament do not voice out is that they are subjected to hate speech and sexual harassment which naturally demoralizes them.

Political parties urged to promote peace and equality

Political parties have been urged to preach the word of peace, give women room to perform to the best of their abilities and promote equality. Linda Masarira, spokesperson of MDC-T stressed that the whipping system and political party affiliation must be done away with, and that political parties have a role to play in fostering equal treatment towards women. Civil societies were advised to continue with the great work of engaging citizens and political leaders in the next elections so as to curb future challenges in the political field.