Zambia: Misses the mark on 5050 target in the just ended elections

Zambia: Misses the mark on 5050 target in the just ended elections

Date: October 4, 2011
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Zambia has missed the mark on achieving the 50% women in political decision making target by 2015 as only 17 (11.3%) women out of a potential 150 candidates were elected into parliament on 20 September. This places the country at number 13 down from number 11 out of 15 SADC countries when you rank countries according to women in parliament – based on the lower or single houses only. The country went to the polls to elect a president, members of parliament and local councillors.

The battle had already been lost before the election took place because women constituted only 14.7% of nominated candidates from all political parties. The women candidates were fielded in only 51% of the constituencies (150 constituencies) and in most cases the areas were not strategic as those constituencies have mostly two women competing against a man or two men.

This is despite the fact that Zambia is a signatory to the 2008 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development which obliges Member States to meet a target of achieving a target of 50% women in all decision making positions by 2015.In the 2011 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer, SADC Gender and Development Index for governance places Zambia at 24% of where they need to be by 2015 and the country is ranked number 13 out of the 15 countries. The score could be a little less if you factor in the new parliamentary election results but this does not affect the trend analysis.

The SGDI score on governance is a weighting of how governments are performing in relation to placing women in political decision making positions. The score consists of:

  • Parliament – the percentage of parliamentarians who are women including both upper and lower houses of parliament for countries that have more than one house.
  • Local government: The percentage of local government councillors/representatives who are women.
  • Cabinet – the percentage of the Cabinet who are women. The measure includes deputy ministers and ministers of state where they are members of the Cabinet. Similarly it includes the President if s/he is a member of Cabinet.

The 2010 MDG report on Zambia confirms that the issue of women in decision making is still a big challenge and the country will definitely not meet the 2015 target.

Gender activists in Zambia have therefore called on urgent action to ensure that more women go into politics and other areas of decision making. There can be no complacency in Zambia and there is need to strategise beyond 2015.


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