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Young Women With Disabilities Demand To Be Involved In Leadership And Electoral Processes

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The Women’s Academy For Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) with support from the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) held a conference with young women with disabilities on the impact of outstanding electoral reforms and the effects they have on young women’s participation in electoral processes.

 

 

The discussion which was conducted on October 14, 2022 had a total of 35 young women with disabilities from the University of Zimbabwe and Great Zimbabwe University, as well as representatives from ZANU PF and CCC. The objective of the meeting was to monitor the progress made towards the implementation of outstanding electoral reforms that affect young women with disabilities’ participation in electoral processes.

 

 

 

The facilitator highlighted that young women with disabilities (YWWDs) have the same rights to participate in electoral procesess as everyone else and that they constitute a third of the population. It was also highlighted that their voices matter and they should be leading in demanding the full implementation of outstanding electoral reforms.

 

 

 

Political parties also shared what their parties are doing to guarantee full participation of young women with disabilities in electoral reforms. Hon Marko Raidza from ZANU PF highlighted that their party has been pushing for women with disabilities to be recognized and given equal opportunities as able-bodied women. He also highlighted that they have been raising awareness against political violence and sexual harassment against women with disabilities. He went on to encourage young women with disabilities to demand their rights and not wait for an opportunity to avail itself for them to participate in electoral processes.

 

 

CCC representative, Ms. Ellen Shiriyedenga, highlighted that their party is doing all they can to make sure that the environment is conducive for women, young women and women with disabilities to freely, actively and fully participate in electoral processes. She encouraged the young women with disabilities to take advantage of capacity building trainings that are offered by organisations such as WALPE as these will deepen their capacities and knowledge on electoral processes.

 

 

 

The YWWDs shared the challenges they are facing in participating in electoral processes as both voters and candidates. They noted that sexual harassment is the biggest challenge and they fear to be involved in political processes because of political violence.

 

 

 

 

At the end of the discussion, the participants drafted demands they then submitted to political parties and Parliament for actioning.

 

Robert Tapfumaneyi