I can do it!

Date: January 1, 1970
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This is an advertisement used to promote voting for female candidates in the harmonised elections in Zimbabwe. The advert shows a young woman holding a baby.

The advert be used to-
1. Demonstrate pro-active strategies to encourage women’s partici[ation in politics.
2. Raise discussions about gender and leadership
3. Raise discussions about the balance of work and home
4. Raise discussions about changing gender roles.
5, Demonstrate subtle stereotypes
Trainers Notes
This advertisement portrays women as compassionate people, who are loving and caring. It shows that women are capable of giving birth and building a nation.
The smile on the woman’s face shows that she is confident and this is further emphasised by the words “I can do it.” One can posit that the woman is saying that although I am a mother and have a child, I can also be a leader. It challenges the thinking that women can not be leaders.
The advert mat also be considered to perpetuate gender roles. Women are known to take care of children although in this instance the advert can be interpreted to mean that woman care for a nation. The advert encourages women to vote for other women and take advantage of the fact that they are the majority.
Gender roles are dynamic and this should be made visible in the advertisements. There are now female doctors, pilots, engineers, which means there are more women performing roles which were previously the domain for men. While this is now the trend, very few advertisements depict this trend.
Discussion Questions
1. Why is the woman holding a baby? Does it add value to the advert? What is your opinion of the advertisement?
2. Why are there few female leaders yet they are the majority? Do women vote for other women. Why?
3. Why are there few women in politics?
4. Why do women need to convince the electorate that they can do it? What social and cultural barriers exist?
5. Will this advertisement appeal to male voters? Is this important?
Training exercises
1. Ask participants to get a newspaper each and ask them to identify advertisements which are gender aware and gender blind.
2. Conduct a survey of what men and women want in a leader. Compare the finding with the message of the advertisement. Is it appropriate to encouraging women and men to vote for women candidates?
3.  Redesign this advertisement based on the survey findings. What are alternative messages?
4. Ask participants to break into groups. Ask them to identify advertisements that challenge stereotypes and those that perpetuate stereotypes. Where there is a picture of a woman on advert, take the picture of a man and ask participants to argue if the impact would change.
Links to other training resources:
At the coal face: Gender and governance in Southern Africa. https://www.genderlinks.org.za/page.php?p_id=348
Ringing up the changes; Gender in Southern African politics

Download : I can do it Zim elections The Herald

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