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Zimbabwe’s Electoral System is a First Past The Post (FTPT) at the local level. At national level Zimbabwe has a mixed system with a proportional representation quota for women and the FTPT. Since 2013, the quota reserves 60 seats for women in parliament. This quota is set to expire after the 2023 election. Although there is a quota for women at the national level, the representation of women fell from 34% in the 2013 election to 31% in 2018. Whilst at the national level there is a quota for women, there is nothing at the local level. Women’s representation at the local has continued to decline in the last three elections from 18% in 2008 to 16% in 2013 and currently at 14%. You can read the Zimbabwe 2018 elections gender audit here.
The low representation of women is a reflection of the many challenges that hinder women from participating in politics and occupying decision-making positions. These include:
- Lack of financial resources.
- Restrictive political party policies.
- Lack of confidence and exposure.
Despite these barriers Zimbabwe has made strides to ensure that women’s participation in political decision making is improved. The Constitution of Zimbabwe calls for gender balance in all structures. The appointment of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) has been one of the major achievements as this institution is now holding multi-stakeholder consultations to ensure that there is gender balance in the 2023 elections and beyond. The ZGC in partnership with Gender Links invited experts from the SADC region (Mauritius, Lesotho, South Africa and Namibia) to share possibilities on how to increase the proportion of women in Zimbabwe in June 2019. You can read the full discussion paper here.