Despite section 17 of the constitution compelling the state to promote full gender balance in Zimbabwean society and section 20 providing for youths to have opportunities to associate and to be represented and participate in political, social, economic and other spheres of life, the political participation of women and specifically young women remains at a bare minimum.
The deep rooted socio cultural hindrances young women face such as patriarchy, poverty, unemployment, inequality and lack of resources exacerbate their dilemma.
Speaking during a panel discussion during the annual Young Women Summit organised by Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT) last Friday, Harare West legislator Joana Mamombe bemoaned lack of mentorship as a stumbling block to young women’s political participation in the country.
“We tend to normalise men’s dominance in politics, while it’s true, but for me the biggest challenge is to say the women who have participated in politics, what have they done to make sure that they also bring in young women to take up leadership positions,” Mamombe said.
Mamombe urged the Yett to engage older women who have been in politics for sometime so as to bridge the generational divide and create a platform for notes sharing and mentorship.
” I am a product of a lot of mentorship, this is why i think that mentors are the real deal, if you dont have someone sharing and coaching you how to go about a process then it is difficult to achieve it,” she added.
Speaking at the same event Chivi North Legislator and chairperson of the portfolio committee on Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, Mathias Tongafa encouraged young women to begin particpating at a young age in order to build a legacy.
“Young people should realise that at the age of 16 most of the people who are now liberation war heroes went to war, so you have to start participating at a tender age,” Tongafa said.
” Rogers Alfred Likita Mangena died at 34, Josiah Tongogara died at 39 not very old but they had done their bit and left a legacy. I am encouraging you to find your space now, find your party if you want to be in politics get involved knowing that at age 22, 23, 24 you will be contesting for a position therefore align yourself,” he added.