Delegates from Africa, Asia, South and Central America were called by Thenjiwe Lesabe, Zimbabwean minister for national affairs, employment creation and co-operatives to meet in the city of Harare for a conference on “gender and good government.”
Lesabe proclaimed that women’s involvement in the political sphere is essential and advocated increasing women’s representation in governmental agencies, particularly high-level, decision-making bodies. She said that the few women who do achieve high positions often are unable to influence major decisions about the structure and nature of government, due to lack of support by their peers.
Netherlands ambassador to Zimbabwe Wim Wessels encouraged conference attendees to follow through on goals made at 1995’s United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. “More equitable relations without exploitation, violence and the denials of human rights should be pursued,” Wessels said.
Women make up 51% of Zimbabwe’s total population, but constitute only 14.7% of its parliament.