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Gender Observatory for Elections Launched

The Zimbabwe Gender Commission yesterday launched the Gender Observatory which is set to monitor, gather and document women’s experiences throughout the electoral cycle.

Addressing journalists, Gender Commission Chairperson, Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe expressed concern over repeated attacks on female political leaders which has manifested in various forms including psychological violence.

“These acts of violence against women in politics are aimed at intimidating the democratic contestation of ideas and silencing the voices of women in politics. This also exacerbates the disparity between men and women in politics and decision making positions and flies in the face of gender equality and peaceful, free, fair and credible elections,

“The Gender Observatory is a mechanism for gathering evidence and documenting women’s experiences throughout the electoral cycle, it is also a protection and response mechanism for electoral violence against women before, during and after elections,” said Sangarwe.

She added that political power has remained largely beyond the reach of many women and an enabling electoral environment should be created which will allow women’s participation in the best way possible.

“The Gender Observatory is a long term mechanism, whose existence will extend beyond the elections and whose long term mandate is to gather information from women led grassroots organizations to support effective reporting of cases on election related issues,

“Take action in response to identified gender and election related issues, promote implementation of the Advocacy Strategy on women’s political participation and disseminate knowledge on women’s experiences throughout the electoral cycle,” added Sangarwe.

The Gender Observatory is situated within the Zimbabwe Gender Commission with the overall responsibility of facilitating the promotion of gender justice, as well as ensuring that the gender equality provisions of the Constitution are adhered to.

The launch of the Gender Observatory follows many other efforts such as the 50/50 campaign, the 2018 launch of the Women’s Manifesto, commitments to a gender parity pledge, the creation of an elections committee within the police and the different Chapter 12 commissions.

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