THE Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) has raised concern over the low number of women who participated in the May 7 by-elections.

In a statement yesterday, WCoZ said low participation of women was a setback to achieving the 50/50 gender parity in Parliament and other leadership posts.

“More women need to participate in elections as candidates to achieve gender equality. There is need for political parties to observe the equal representation of candidates in elections which will, in turn, enhance gender equality,” the WCoZ statement read.

Out of the 20 candidates who were nominated, only one was a female, representing 5% compared to 95% males.

“The duly nominated candidate Sekai Catherine Mukodza of Mutare ward 16 went on to win the local authority seat, representing a  12,5% win for females, compared to males with 87,5%,” WCoZ said.

Analysts said most Zimbabwean women shy away from politics because of violence.

“The gender imbalances and stereotyping socially, politically and economically are structural and need 100% commitment from all women in Zimbabwe in order for us to be able to break all the barriers prohibiting women to reach their full potential in this highly patriarchal country,” Lead president Linda Masarira

She added that in order to break the gender imbalances, family set-ups must allow the girl child to dream, while parents should nurture a culture of equality at home to build confidence in the girl child.