May 8 is drawing nearer and many South Africans are deliberating about which political party to vote for and why.
Looking at the female electorate, Azania spoke to Senior Research Fellow And Political Economist at Trade Collective Lebohang Pheko, Researcher from the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies Mbali Mazibuko and Social Activist Lovelyn Nwadeyi, to weigh in on whether women's voices are being heard within political structures.
Pheko says the formation of women's leagues in politics has become problematic because it elongates and enlarges patriarchy and uses the same forms of violence against other women.
She says political parties and the state itself are not pro-women.
I am very cynical because I don't think that parties inherently themselves are pro women, I think they are also gender hostile but I also think the state is hostile.— Lebohang Pheko, Senior Research Fellow And Political Economist - Trade Collective
If we take it back to the way our states were formed, these were always about liberation first and the woman's question would come later. We have always been the add on's to African states and male power. If we could see women as being part of community, power and governance, the conversations around 50 plus 1 wouldn't exist, it would be a given. The women who do manage to access those levels of power usually become co-opted.— Lebohang Pheko, Senior Research Fellow And Political Economist - Trade Collective
Nwadeyi says it is important for her to look at what the positioning of women may be within a political party and whether it is one that inherently has power.
Secondly, I want see if those women are there to implement a patriarchal agenda or if they are there to actively further the interests of women. We can't have women who are patriarchal princesses in parties, holding positions but actually for them, the agenda of women is an after thought.— Lovelyn Nwadeyi, Social Activist
Mazibuko says her vote depends on the reading of gender in a political party.
I have noticed that majority of political parties, when they think about gender, they think about this binary between man and women and I feel like it is more expansive than that. We need to think about what it means to also think about the LGBTIQ+ community. It is important and none of the political parties have given any kind of voice or stance that speaks to those voters.— Mbali Mazibuko, Researcher - Wits Centre for Diversity Studies
Click on the link below to hear the full conversation....