Source: The Zimbabwean
Aspiring female politicians have lambasted the existing political structures as the major barrier to women taking up positions of leadership and participating actively in politics. In an interview with The Zimbabwean, Director of Zimbabwe Organisation for Youths in Politics, Nkosilathi Moyo, who is also the Project Coordinator of Democratic Agenda, said aspiring female politicians felt disadvantaged by existing political situations.

“Aspiring female politicians lament that they are relegated to mere voters and the existing political structures sideline them in the selection of candidates,” said Moyo.

ZOYP held a meeting last week at Shamwari Hotel in Kwekwe to establish the challenges being faced by young women wishing to assume leadership positions.

“The youths are saying that they are being relegated to the periphery because there is a general feeling that they lack experience. The message was that youths are only consulted and given space when their vote is being sought,” he said.

ZOYP Committee Member, Lorraine Sibanda, said politics bemoaned the dominance of politics by men.

“According to our findings, there are a lot of women ready to contest in the forthcoming elections. Youths recommended an even political playing field as instrumental if the 50/50 representation is to be realised,” she said.

Zimbabwean women in politics are still far from matching their male counterparts in decision making positions. There are less than 15 percent women in the current Senate and Lower House.

Political parties, despite public rhetoric, have no strict regulations that promote the inclusion of women as candidates or leaders. This has been blamed on a number of factors that include male dominance, violence and traditional values held by many who see women who participate in politics as misfits.

“The challenge is to ensure that women, especially young women, take up active politics to demystify the assumption that politics is for loose people,” she said. ”It is high time youths are encouraged to be part of the electoral process - not as voters, but as election candidates,” added Sibanda.

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