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Breaking Barriers: Women Defying Odds in the Political Arena

Innocent Muraiwa

In the challenging world of politics, gender barriers have historically posed hurdles for women aspiring to make their mark. However, a new wave of determined and trailblazing female politicians is proving that politics is no longer a hard hat area exclusively reserved for men. Exceptional women are challenging stereotypes, shattering glass ceilings, and reshaping the face of leadership in the political landscape.

One shining example is Gokwe Deputy Mayor Charity Mungwani, who has shown unparalleled dedication and unwavering commitment to public service and became a truly inspiring figure for aspiring female politicians in Gokwe. Her journey in politics has not been an easy one, as she faced a myriad of gender-related challenges along the way. Nevertheless, her relentless spirit and exceptional qualifications have propelled her to become one of the most influential voices in modern politics.

Speaking in an interview with this publication Mungwani urged women not to be hesitant in taking part in the political field but to rather stand firm and exercise their political rights. She advised women to deal away with all the patriarchal thoughts which tend to downplay their potential in the political environment.

“With boldness, women should be strong enough to contest for every position in the political setup environment. Gone are the days when women were only designed to be housewives, incapable of doing anything outside some domestic duties. We are living in a modern world where there is gender equality.

“If a woman steps up for a political post, people denigrate them and develop a suspicious mindset towards their conduct. Most people think that women who are into politics are much into prostitution due to our association with other male political leaders. There is nothing bad about interacting together because as a leadership team, you need to advise each other on how to maneuver some political constraints that might arise, and also as a group, we share some governing strategies that help meet the anticipated standards of the society,” said Mungwani.

As an extraordinary woman, Mungwani serves as an inspiration for countless others who yearn to make a difference in the political arena. By sharing her stories of resilience and success, she encourages women to shoulder the mantle of leadership without hesitation, proving that they are more than capable of getting the job done. Mangwani revealed some challenges which women face especially in parliamentary meetings where the leaders table down for some discussions that reflect issues affecting the communities, while giving her own examples in the process.

“In the decision-making process especially during some parliamentary meetings, if a woman candidate raises a view with regards to societal developments, their point gets ruled out as fruitless. Male candidates consider themselves great thinkers. I remember when I proposed a budget for borehole drilling projects, unfortunately, other male leaders were against it but preferred the construction of beerhalls. With all these circumstances which women face in their day-to-day political lives, I strongly urge women not to give up, they should fight for equality.”

It is crucial to acknowledge that progress towards gender parity in politics is an ongoing journey. Although strides have been made over recent years, numerous obstacles and prejudices continue to persist. While women face unique challenges, the political landscape is gradually transforming to embrace diversity and foster an inclusive environment.

Speaking during a workshop held by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe) Rosewitter Matsveru who is the Kwekwe Chapter Chairperson for Women Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ), illustrated the essence of the position of women in the political environment for balanced and unbiased development. She also applauded some female political candidates for the coming 2023 harmonised elections in Kwekwe for standing firm against influential male candidates

“Musha mukadzi (a house is built by women), women are important political players who can deal away with some challenges which certain communities of Zimbabwe are facing.  As Women Coalition of Zimbabwe, we ask the government to promote a free and fair political environment that does not undermine the rights of women.”

“I am happy that from WICOZ, there are some women candidates including Judith Tobayiwa Kwekwe Central constituency candidate for CCC, Melody Chingarande council candidate for CCC, and others. They have shown their political strengths and this shows that women can always make it for the right leadership,” she said.

Efforts to dismantle systemic barriers are more important now than ever. Political parties, organizations, and societies must join hands to ensure that women’s voices are not only heard but actively included in decision-making processes. By leveling the playing field and supporting women in politics, we can create a future where gender is no longer a limitation and where women can thrive and excel in the political arena.

Though there are some women who are breaking barriers in politics, it is a stark reminder that the path to equality is not yet finished. Nevertheless, with each step taken by these tenacious women, the landscape of politics becomes more reflective of the diverse society it serves. We must continue to champion and support women in their political aspirations, as the success of women in politics benefits us all by fostering greater representation and creating a more inclusive democracy.

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