People believe women make good leaders

Over two-thirds of respondents in a recent survey agreed that in Zimbabwe, women are listened to and respected by politicians, are adequately represented in decision-making, make good leaders and have the same opportunities for promotion.

This table illustrates the proportion of respondents that agreed (including both strongly agreed and agreed) to statements read out to them regarding women’s influence, representation and leadership.
This table illustrates the proportion of respondents that agreed (including both strongly agreed and agreed) to statements read out to them regarding women’s influence, representation and leadership.

The “Survey on Local Governance and Constitutionalism in Zimbabwe” was commissioned by the International Republican Institute and conducted between late December 2014 and early January 2015 across the country with 1,215 respondents from both urban and rural areas.

Sixty-two percent believe that a woman could be elected as president. The graph shows some interesting differences by urban and rural area, and all these differences are statistically significant.

Further, when asked who they would vote for if two candidates were equal, other than that one was a man and one a woman, similar proportions selected a man (39 percent) or a woman (37 percent), while 22 percent stated that it made no difference.

Respondents were asked whether they believed that the temporary quota system (an additional sixty women), mandated in the new constitution for the duration of the first two parliaments after the new constitution came into effect, should be made a permanent system.

• 58 percent believe that it should (no significant difference according to rural or urban area), 28 percent that it should not with the remainder being unsure (13 percent) or unwilling to answer this question.

Women were significantly less likely than were men to strongly agree that:

• Politicians listen to the needs and ideas of women (16 percent of women and 25 percent of men strongly agreed with this statement);

• Women are adequately represented in the local decision-making positions in Zimbabwe (17 percent versus 24 percent); and

• Women have the same opportunities for promotion as men in Zimbabwe (19 percent versus 31 percent).

Moreover, 67 percent of women but just 49 percent of men agree that the temporary quota system that provides for an additional 60 women in parliament should be made permanent. Fifty-two percent of women would elect a woman rather than a man for office, all other things being equal; 26 percent would select a man. Fifty-one percent of men would select a man, and 22 percent a woman.

Also significant were differences observed between Shona and Ndebele speakers with respect to their perception that politicians listen to the needs and ideas of women – 72 percent of the former but only 56 percent of the latter strongly agreed or agreed – as well as the proportions that would select a man for office if a man and woman were running and were equal in all other respects – 42 percent of Shona and 26 percent of Ndebele speakers would select a man, a respective 36 percent and 39 percent, a woman and for 20 percent and 30 percent, respectively, it would not matter.

Youths not respected

Youths (defined to respondents, in this survey, as up to 30 years of age) were viewed as less likely than are women to be adequately represented in decision-making positions or to have their views respected by politicians. Sixty-one percent believe they can make good political leaders. Differences between the perceptions of rural and urban dwellers were significantly different for all the statements shown.

When asked whether they would seek a youth or an older person for an elected office, 41 percent of both the rural and urban population said that they’d elect a youth, all other things being equal. A respective 41 percent and 45 percent would elect the older candidate while the remainder either said they had no preference (14 percent urban, 13 percent rural) or did not know.

There were few differences between the different age groups concerning their impressions of youth in decision-making and leadership positions in Zimbabwe, other than that fewer respondents aged over 40 believed that youth would make better political leaders than did those under the age of 40. Twenty-three percent of the 18-24 year olds strongly agreed that they would, compared with 22 percent of the 25-30 year olds, 24 percent of the 31-40 year olds, 19 percent of the 41-50 year olds, 17 percent of the 51-60 year olds and 20 percent of the over 60s.

Post published in: Gender Equality

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