Daniel Nemukuyu in NYANGA (The Herald)

The Zimbabwe Gender Commission has urged women to scale up participation ahead of the 2018 general elections to achieve gender parity in the political arena.

Addressing scores of women during a gender dialogue at Mutasa Community Hall in Manicaland on Wednesday, ZGC chairperson Commissioner Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe, said women representation in politics was low and the Commission was strategising on how to attain equal representation of men and women in local authorities and in Parliament.

“This should logically start at local government level,” she said.

“We want to see the next elections having a greater number of women registering or being put forward by their political parties to contest alongside their male counterparts on the basis of equality.

“We will be talking to different political parties to ensure that their constitutions promote gender equality in line with the Constitution of the country.”

Comm Mukahanana-Sangarwe said women in Zimbabwe constituted 52 percent of the population, but their representation in high political positions was still low.

“With regard to political participation and decision-making, notwithstanding the reserved quota for women in Parliament, there is still very low representation of women in that body,” she said.

“Statistics show that women constitute only 34 percent of the current Parliament (125 women out of 350, that is 48 in Senate and 31 percent in National Assembly).”

Out of 26 ministers, Comm Mukahanana-Sangarwe said only three were women, adding that there were only three women provincial affairs ministers in a country with 10 provinces.

Out of 19 deputy ministers, only five are women and the country has 1 635 councillors, but only 323 are women.

Comm Mukahanana-Sangarwe bemoaned low representation of women in influential positions in Government and the corporate world.

“According to a research done in 2015, out of 64 chief executive officers of companies listed on the stock exchange, only three were females,” she said.

“Out of 103 chief executive officers of State-owned parastatals, there were only 15 female CEOs.”

Comm Mukahanana-Sangarwe explained to the women in the province the mandate of the commission and introduced the nine commissioners running ZGC before engaging in dialogue with the women hearing their concerns and expectations.