HARARE – Women’s wings in political parties could soon be rendered irrelevant if they do not use them to their advantage, a Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) report contends.
The report released on Tuesday titled “Women’s wings in Zimbabwe in 2017: Are they necessary” indicated that while women’s wings have been present in modern politics since the 1920s the predicament of women has not changed much.
RAU researcher Caroline Kache said women’s wings in their current form should reform internally as there are too many rifts.
“Women’s wings are ineffective without adequate funding. They need the resources for their activities. They should also engage the women in the main wings so that their issues can be pushed,” Kache said.
Elizabeth Chinyanga, a politician with MDC said the problem with women’s wings was that they were underfunded by their political parties.
She said often women had to compete for seats with men who were financially advantaged than them, rendering their efforts useless.
“Unless we demand for an increase in the number of seats for women we will remain a minority. If the parties could also fund us in our campaigns as per their mandates, we will win,” Chinyanga said.
The report said the women’s wings serve the role of recruitment for the party and are the key constituent vote.
“However, there are issues, with under representation being one that could speak to their success or failure.
“If they command as much power as they purport to, they are failing to realise and use it to their advantage. In their current form, justification of their existence could be difficult as they have not quite achieved their mandate.
“The party constitutions are not cast in stone as is evident with Zanu PF advocating for a clause to have a female vice president in their constitution. It is evident then that they can all lobby for 50/50 within their constitutions.
“Without them, most of the parties would not function effectively and hence women’s leagues are not fully utilising their potential power,” the report said.
RAU’s report showed that while they may not be dismantled, their methods of operation are still the same.