Maxwell Tapatapa Herald Reporter
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda has described the women’s parliamentary quota system as a powerful gender empowerment tool saying he will ensure its extension beyond 2023.
The constitutional provision for women proportional representation in Parliament is set to expire in 2023.
Speaking at the launch of Zimbabwe Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) photobook in Harare last week, Adv Mudenda said he was going to ensure the extension of the women’s quota beyond 2023.
The photobook depicts in words and pictures the achievements, challenges encountered by women politicians and their aspirations for the future.
“As your Speaker, I shall ensure that the constitutional provision for women’s proportional representation rolls over beyond 2023.”
Adv Mudenda said he will also try to persuade different political parties to promote gender parity in line with the supreme law of the country.
“Furthermore, I shall endeavour to persuade political parties to provide for gender parity in their party constitutions so as to comply with the national Constitution’s demand for gender parity,” he said.
Adv Mudenda said the proportional representation enriched parliamentary debates and had helped in mitigating gender stereotypes in politics.
“In fact, an increase in the proportion of women elected under the proportional representation matrix has made a difference in the passage of legislation beneficial towards mitigating the negative attitudes against women participation in politics,” he said.
Adv Mudenda said the ZWPC was instrumental in the debates that led to the promulgation of the of 2013 Constitution, which is highly rated globally for being gender sensitive.
It also played an integral role in the amendment of the Labour Act which now provides for maternity leave with full pay for women.
ZWPC was also instrumental in passing the Domestic Violence Act and the Education Act which provides for gender parity in education.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, who is a former ZWPC chairperson, urged the Ninth Parliament ZWPC to mentor young girls in various constituencies.
“I would urge the Ninth Parliament ZWPC to take up the issue and engage the young girls and move towards the promotion of politics as a career”
Cde Mutsvangwa also said the Ninth Parliament should push for equal representation in Parliament.
“The 50/50 campaign is a campaign that is now at the core of the gender movement’s work which the Ninth Parliament should consider seriously to ensure equal representation in Parliament and all sectors at decision- making level.”
The launch of the Eighth Parliament photobook is an initiative driven by the Research and Advocacy Unit and the Gender Media Connect to amplify the voices of women, feminist principles, media and research expertise.