YOUTH Development Foundation coordinator Chinoya Muyeye says financing is the biggest impediment to women participation in politics.
And Political parties in Eastern Province have pledged to adopt 40 per cent female candidates at parliamentary, council chairperson and councillor level.
Speaking during the YDF organised interparty dialogue on the adoption of female candidates on Saturday, Muyeye said political parties should remove the application fees for candidates.
“Money is the biggest impediment to women participation in politics. In most situations men are better off than women, so men take advantage. We are appealing to political parties to mobilise resources for your candidates,” he said. “Application fees is actually the biggest impediment. When applying, you have to pay an application fee. Where will the rural woman going to get those exorbitant fees? My appeal to you political parties is that may you quash application fees for applicants. Again, Electoral Commission of Zambia charges nomination fees!”
Muyeye said it was unfortunate that women faced limitations and barriers from the start of their political aspiration.
“Political parties, may you kindly revisit the issue of application fees so that you level the playing field. No one should be left behind just like the Vision 2030. We have left our women to participate behind because they don’t have resources,” he said.
Muyeye said there were a lot of impediments that limit women participation in politics especially in rural areas.
Chipata Central Socialist Party aspiring candidate Doris Mweene said female candidates faced a lot of challenges starting from home where they come from.
“Sometimes these challenges start from within your homes, it might be your husband even relatives, not everybody can be with you when you decide to join politics. Some people will perceive women in politics as being promiscuous and the like,” Mweene said.
She said low self-esteem among females affect them in politics.
“Some females because of low self-esteem, you feel for you to get there because you don’t have the money you have to do something and if you don’t have the money something else has to be done,” Mweene said. “In our party, its different because there is no nomination fee even the issue of mobilisation, the party is coming in but there are some political parties where you pay for application.”
Mweene said at some point she was cyber-bullied when she made her intentions known that she was going to contest the elections.
And in the communique that was issued after the inter-party dialogue, the political parties pledged to support female aspiring candidates in the adoption process.
They stated that they understand firmly that women play a critical role in political governance in the political parties and government as they were custodians of peace and tranquility.
The political parties pledged to focus on issue-based campaigns as they draw to the general elections.
They recognised that women have not done well in the area of decision making.
“We are concerned with intraparty political violence that has created a big barrier for female participation. We condemn such acts which limit female participation. We pledge to adopt 40 per cent of our women to contest as councillors and as parliamentarians,” the communique read in part.
They also pledged to provide security to the women and appealed to the men folks to support female candidates that would be adopted.
The political parties appealed to YDF, NGOCC and other cooperating partners to continue the noble support of engaging political parties with programmes and activities that support women in politics.
Parties that attended the dialogue were UPND, NDC, MMD, MDC, Socialist Party and UNIP.