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Political Discrimination of Women Continues in Zimbabwe, Lesotho

Dr. Mphu Ramatlapeng of Lesotho

Dr. Mphu Ramatlapeng of Lesotho

Women’s representation in Zimbabwe’s parliament doubled from 17 to 35 percent following the 2008 general elections and 2013 polls.

Despite this change, women are still underrepresented in politics.

Member of Parliament and former Minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, told VOA Studio 7 unless political institutions changed their biases, which tend to favor men over women, underrepresentation of women in politics will remain an issue.

Mushonga noted that women have been exposed to a very dirty game of politics which has left many of them wondering if joining politics was worth sacrificing their family’s welfare and the general peace of individuals.

On the same note, Lesotho’s former Minister of Health, Dr. Mphu Ramatlapeng, stressed that women were generally peaceful beings who cared much about their communities than their own lives.

Ramatlapeng said women would rather opt to staying off the political field instead of getting in the confrontational settings of politics.

“Women must not wait or rely on government to boost them to the front line in politics, but rather they should form coalitions and strive to claim their place in politics. Women need to stop pulling each other down and start focusing on getting together for their own good, more especially because they are very strong and great in numbers,” Ramatlapeng warned.

Worldwide efforts to promote women in decision-making roles gained prominence in the 1980s and 1990s and was further propelled after the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 held in Beijing, China where delegates called for an international effort for countries to have women represent 30% of their national governments.

At the same time, as the month of August, which is widely celebrated as the Women’s Rights Month in South Africa, nears its end, women rights activists are urging African women to aim for higher leadership positions, especially the presidency.

More on this in an interview with Olga Speelman of Samkela Women’s Movement, a branch of the South African Women in Dialogue, who first told Studio 7’s Sithandekile Mhlanga that her organization is also considering assisting women from other countries, who reside in South Africa.

Most African countries are led by men.

Some South African organizations are pushing for the election of a female president in the next presidential poll set for 2019.