Author's Name: Victor Madzinga
Subject Area: Social Science and Humanities
Subject Management
Section Research Paper


Acculturisation, gender discrimination, gender stereotypes, patriarchal society, political empowerment, political leadership


The study sought to discover –in order of importance-the forces that hold back women in Marondera District from becoming councillors. The study was conducted against the backdrop that while females constitute about 50% of the district population currently only a mere 5 out of 35 councillors are women and this translates to 14%. The scenario is exacerbated by the fact that this percentage has been falling over the past few years. This lopsided situation persists in spite of continued lobbying for the political empowerment of women by the Zimbabwean Government, the United Nations and civil society. The study employed the descriptive survey design on a sample size of 350. Sample representativeness was improved by stratification along the lines of age and geographical location. Self-administered questionnaires and in-depth interviews were used. Tables, graphs and the Spearman’s correlation coefficient were used to organise and facilitate the analysis of data. A good number of interesting findings were made in respect of the district. It was observed that the younger and more educated the female, the more willing she would be to become councillor. It was also noted that of the three categories of adult women-singles, married and widowed, the latter was more available for political leadership. In the main it was found that it was the patriarchy of the society which held back women from becoming councillors in Marondera District. More specifically, such ‘lady’ stereotypes as submission to male dominance and non-assertiveness, readily showed up. Institutional shortcomings and political violence were cited as lesser deterrents. Interestingly these perceptions were shared by both male and female respondents. Recommendations entail changing the patriarchal mindset in both males and females. Varied and carefully selected strategies-as depicted in the ‘woman leader nurturing model’-would have to be employed by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development in partnership with the usually better resourced non-governmental organisations.

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