This time last year in Zimbabwe the environment was characterized by calls by women especially those actively involved in politics, to elect more women leaders into positions of influence such as in Municipalities and Parliament.
Voter registration statistics had shown that the majority of registered voters comprised of women. This gave hope to women leaders that their representation in political governance would increase.
A year later, Zimbabwe has Honorable Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri as the first woman to hold the powerful and influential post of Minister of Defense. This also comes along with an increased number of women in cabinet.
Reports emerging from the run up to the MDC Alliance congress have shown that there has been a post in the presidium that has been reserved for women.
Women are continuously penetrating circles that were previously deemed a preserve for men. From business to politics, women are actively pushing for more of their folk to take part in the goal to achieve 50-50 representation in all spheres.
The war of liberation in Zimbabwe also had women contributing in varying roles including active participation in the protracted armed struggle itself. Before the need to rise up for independence came, women also occupied prestigious roles in pre-colonial Africa.
In pre-colonial Nigeria in the Yoruba states, Iyalode existed as some kind of a female chieftain-ship title bestowed on women who were appointed as women leaders based on their accomplishments. These women acted as women’s representative in council and contributed to economic and political matters.
The Zazzau state of the Hausa had Queen Amina as its 24th ruler between the 16th and 17th century. Elsewhere, the 17th century Mbandu people of Angola witnessed the reign of Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba. Queen Nzinga led some of the earliest battles against the encroaching Portuguese.
In present day Africa, women have occupied the posts of deputy president in nations such as Zimbabwe and Malawi amongst others. It was Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who became the first elected female African head of state in 2006.
All these achievements by the woman folk clearly show that women are indeed fighting for equal representation in all facets of life.