Investigating the status quo regarding women and political participation in Kitwe district of Zambia.

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Kanungwe, Chibaye
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The University of Zambia
The overarching focus of this study was to “Investigate the Status Quo Regarding Women and Political Participation in Kitwe District of Zambia”. The study sought to explore the nature of women participation in politics and to find out the factors that hindered women from participating in active politics. Furthermore, the study was predicated on ascertaining the strategies deployed for empowering women participation in politics. An exploration study design was used with a qualitative approach. The study purposefully sampled 30 participants from the four selected political parties and a women non-governmental organization. Semistructured interview guide and Focus Group discussion guide were used as data collection instruments as well as document review checklist. Thematic approach was applied to analyse the data after coding. The findings revealed that nature of women participation included sitting on women desks in the party as well as managing leadership positions in line with women representation and being a part of public rallies and mobilization teams. With regards to factors that acted as hindrances against women participation in politics, findings revealed that, lack of support from male counterparts, limited financial resources as well as socio-cultural stereotypes acted as blockades for women penetration in mainstream politics of Kitwe district. On strategies employed, the findings revealed that, lobbying for men support, championing the 50/50 threshold representation in parliament and political parties’ deliberate policies of women support were among the key strategies that needed to be utilized. The study concluded that, women participation can only increase in the political space when society unanimously rallies behind them and drops the stereotypical mind-set that the only place of influence a woman belongs to is the kitchen. Also normalising calls for 50/50 representation would be incentive enough for women to appear in the political space. The study made four recommendations: The church should begin to speak out and merge with women organizations to address women representation in politics because decisions made by politicians affect all. Then political parties themselves should remain true to advocating for 50/50 gender representation and there is need to have implementation plans for the rolling out strategies of empowering women participation in politics. Key words: Political participation, women, status quo
Women--Political participation. , Women in politics. , Women--Political activity--Zambia. , Political participation--Zambia. , Zambia--Politics and government.