About the Event
In 2018, Zimbabweans will take to the polls in their country’s next general election. Though elections are a form of democratic process, this tool has not historically given Zimbabwean women a public voice. Although they comprise 50 percent of the youth population, young women and girls experience political exclusion, poverty, violence, disease, and economic disempowerment disproportionate to their numbers. Opportunities that would enable women to participate and lead in politics, business, civil society, cultural activities, and religious spaces would go a long way in improving their overall quality of life and ensuring that decisions made at the local and regional levels take their needs into account. In her presentation, Zimbabwean women’s rights advocate Nyaradzo Mashayamombe discussed the state of young women’s political participation in her country, described how her organization, Tag A Life International, is empowering girls and communities to combat structural and societal norms, and offered recommendations to the international community for promoting gender equality and democratization in Zimbabwe. Her presentation was followed by comments by Natalie Kay.
Nyaradzo Mashayamombe (@nyarimash)
Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow
with comments by
National Endowment for Democracy
International Forum for Democratic Studies
About the Speakers
Ms. Nyaradzo Mashayamombe is founding executive director of Tag A Life International Trust (Ta-LI), an advocacy organization that promotes girls’ and young women’s rights and empowerment in Zimbabwe. She is also a board member of the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, the country’s largest coalition of women’s organizations; national coordinator for Girls Not Brides International, which campaigns against child marriage; and former member of the United Nations’ National Technical Working Group on Gender, Sexual & Reproductive Health, and HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe. In acknowledgment of her advocacy for the rights of girls, Junior Chamber International recognized her in 2013 as one of Ten Outstanding Young People in Zimbabwe in the category of “Contribution to Children, World Peace, and Human Rights.” During her fellowship, she is examining best practices for empowering Zimbabwean youth, particularly girls and young women, to become civic activists and leaders in the movement for democracy.
Ms. Natalie Kay is assistant program officer for Africa at the National Endowment for Democracy. In this capacity, she manages NED’s grant portfolios in Southern Africa and Rwanda. She holds a master’s degree in international public policy from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Tennessee.