Women in Politics Support Unit (WiPSU) yesterday declared that the 50/50 gender representation ratio is still on their agenda in today’s watershed elections despite most females failing to make it as candidates.

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They also blasted the negative hate speech and sexual harassment on female candidates during the campaign period.

“As the harmonised elections draw near, WiPSU declares that 50/50 is still on our agenda and pledge to continue on our quest to achieve it despite the underwhelming poor political party commitments to our nation’s constitution, clearly highlighting the political hypocrisy to the delivery on the 50/50 agenda across the political divide,” WiPSU said in a statement.

“We will continue advocating for the participation of women in elections, not just as voters, but as candidates as well, and to engage and raise the principle that women have a right to be there.”

WiPSU blasted the narrative by some individuals which seeks to paint a picture that women were their worst enemies.

“This narrative seeks to cover the failure to achieve equality in party processes and leadership as a fault of women themselves and beyond the reach of the country’s laws, structures and mechanisms. Hate speech against women and sexual harassment of women in leadership are being considered part of the acceptable leadership terrain and therefore not worth complaining about or responding to.”

They said women will continue to seek the social, structural and institutional reforms that actively hinder the realisation of 50/50 in Zimbabwe.

WiPSU said it is important to have political participation, firstly, as a human right, and secondly that Zimbabwe is a constitutional democracy which is clear on gender equality.

Sections 3 (g), 17, 56 (2) and 80 (1) of the constitution stipulate that there should be gender equality in political, economic, cultural and social spheres.

“We cannot talk about democracy, inclusivity and social justice if women are left behind. Zimbabwe’s population is 52% women and women constitute 53% of registered voters. Only if women are at the decision making table where they can speak out and influence decisions that their interests and concerns can be seriously taken into account,” WiPSU said

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