Women call for an end to Gender Based Violence (GBV) and implementation of Gender Parity Constitutional provisions.

Women in Midlands and Bulawayo provinces hailed the findings from the research conducted by Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) and Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST) on the efficacy of the women’s parliamentary proportional representation quota system. Two provincial indabas were held on Saturday 30 November and Sunday 01 December 2019 in a niche to share the findings of the research and also to commemorate the 16 days of activism against gender based violence (GBV).

In Midlands, the indabas were held in Gokwe Central and Kwekwe and were attended by a total of 100 women drawn from several wards in each area. The participants received a summary of the findings and also held discussions on what they meant to them.

“…. These findings captured my sentiments on the quota system and gender equality in leadership positions. We now need to engage with all duty bearers in our areas so that we start ensuring that 50/50 starts from below…” said a participant from Gokwe central, Midlands Province.

These sentiments were also echoed by the participants in Bulawayo province where two more Indabas were held in Emgamwini and Nketa. The women leaders there were eager to see implementation of some of the recommendations of the research which include the need for Government to fulfil sections 17, 56 and 80 of the Constitution which speak to the need for gender balance in all leadership positions.  They also pledged to support fellow women who intend to contest for any leadership positions “…Our first step should be to support each other as women by voting fellow women to take up leadership from community level all the way to national level. In that way we begin to practice gender parity …” stated a participant in Nketa amid cheers of approval from fellow participants.

The Indabas were also used to amplify the voices of women against GBV including rape. In all the four Indabas, women noted negative cultural practices as well as the exclusion of women from decision making platforms as exacerbating the scourge of GBV. They noted that if women take up leadership from community level to national level, it will have positive impact perceptions of women in communities and as such help end violence against women. Participants also called on the courts to impose stiffer penalties on perpetrators of violence against women and girls. Further, they also called on the state security institutions to respect the law by ending all forms of violence against women and girls and bringing perpetrators in state security organs to book. WALPE will continue working with women and men to step up the fight to end GBV which continue to hinder women to thrive in all aspects of life.