This is very useful for us especially as we seek to integrate more of our members voices in the work that we are doing. This piece has captured the additional hurdles women have to jump to get to political leadership positions. In addition, the intersectionality of discrimination that places gender and race as divisive rather than uniting factors.

Do not tire!! We need brave women such as you to continue with the fight…otherwise we will continue to see regression on the 50/50 as we saw in Malawi. Mozambique is having elections in October, and Namibia in November, hopefully we shall not have regression there as well.



Sara Hlupekile Longwe

Women are lowly represented in all decision making positions because of the entrenched belief of male supremacy (patriarchy) in our Zambian constitutions, customs, traditions, religions, politics and practices. Thus, any woman who tries to enter into politics faces all of these forms of patriarchal discrimination against women.

For example, in the 2011 tripartite elections, I was approached by the Chairperson of the ruling political party (Patriotic Front Party) to stand on their ticket as a Member of Parliament Candidate in Lusaka Central Constituency. I reluctantly persuaded myself to agree in the affirmative to the request. On one hand my hesitation was because of patriarchy but on the other hand I agreed because I wanted to experience and prove whether or not patriarchy would be used against me, especially that the request was from a fellow-woman (Ms Inonge Wina), who was highly placed in the Party.


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FEMNET (The African Women's Development and Communication Network) is a pan African, feminist organisation working to advance the rights of women and girls in Africa. FEMNET has carved a niche in Informing and mobilizing African women in order for them to participate and influence policies and processes that affect their lives. FEMNET has hundreds of members in over 40 countries in Africa as well as in the diaspora. It has played a critical role in building the women's movement in Africa since inception in 1988.

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