A gender activist under Young Christian Women Association (YCWA) Muchanyara Mukamuri has called for gender transformative action as the landscape is uneven for women’s active participation in politics and leadership.
Women advocacy groups have been calling for gender equality in political leadership and they have been encouraging more women to take up leadership roles. However, women are hesitant to take up the roles for fear of victimisation and other gender stereotypes associated with women in politics.
“The playing field is not even, there are unequal power relations with men wielding more power than women.
“Dispelling the gender stereotypes that inherently inhibit women from rising into political careers.“Gender Transformative action as an approach should be used to address toxic masculinity, engage men to be Male champions to build up positive masculinity.
“Toxic femininity, women oppressing other women or women simply not supporting other women, women allowing men to use them against other women.“Confidence building, trust-building and transformative leadership should be used,” she said.
In addition, Mukamuri suggested that women aspiring to take up political leadership roles should be supported with resources to shield them from victimisation and abuse by well-resourced men.
In a more typical and realistic story, a former deputy mayor for Kwekwe city council Cllr Melody Chingarande shared her experience with regards to victimisation in political leadership.
“I was victimised as a woman in political leadership and that made me strong. Women should not be afraid of victimisation but they should stand firm, ” said Chingarande.
Chingarande is aspiring to return her seat as the councillor for Kwekwe Ward five in the upcoming March 26 by-elections.
She is the shortest-serving deputy mayor in Zimbabwe, having been recalled from council barely two weeks after her appointment. Prior to the recall, she faced some victimisation from her opponents and she was at some point imprisoned for her political activism.