Zambia: Government pledges commitment to gender equality

Zambia: Government pledges commitment to gender equality

Date: September 1, 2014
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Lusaka, 29 April: Zambia ranks the lowest in the SADC region when it comes to women in political decision-making. At 6%, Zambia has the lowest representation of women in local government while women constitute 14% of cabinet. Zambia uses First Past the Post System (FPTP) and has no proportional representation. The constitution does not provide a quota for women. However, the signing of regional and international instruments demonstrate that the Zambian government showing commitment to increasing women’s participation in politics.

Speaking at the opening of Zambia’s SADC Gender Protocol@Work Summit at Cresta Golfview Hotel last week, Minister of Gender and Child Development Inonge Wina says the implementation of the national gender policy also shows then country is moving in the right direction toward achieving gender equality.

However, the minister did lament that most political parties tend to favour male candidates, which seriously hinders women’s access to positions of decision-making. “It is very disheartening to note that only two female mayors were elected across the country. We should all say ‘yes we can’ to attaining 50/50 representation by 2015. I am very delighted to be a part of the official opening of the summit that has already proved to my ministry and Zambia at large that it will be a great success,” said Wina.

Wina also applauded President Michael Chilufya Sata for his several appointments of women to head various key institutions like the Judiciary, Police service, Anti – Corruption Commission (ACC) and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC).

She emphasized the need for all stakeholders to include women in various activities including igniting their interest in the running of national affairs. “This will result in peace as we strengthen issues to deal with sustainable development as well as climate change,” she concluded with a thunderous applause from the delegates.

Wina also went on to express her disappointment with the high rate of gender-based violence (GBV) in the country saying, “Gender inequality is also a problem of gender based violence, which is a growing concern,” she exclaimed.

According to the 2013 Zambia Barometer compiled by Gender Links and the SADC Gender protocol Alliance, of the six countries where the Violence Against Women Baseline Study has been conducted, Zambia has the highest lifetime prevalence with 89% of women in the four districts having experienced some form of GBV and 72% of men admitting to perpetrating some form of violence. About 29% of women reported experiencing non-partner rape in their lifetime while a higher proportion of men, 31% said they had perpetrated rape. Ironically, Zambia is the only country in the region with an Anti-Gender Based Violence Act.

Lusaka District Mayor Mulenga Sata who also attended the opening said government is working with different stakeholders to control GBV in Zambia and has since urged all citizens to create a safe environment for all women and encouraged the nation to relentlessly champion the cause for gender equality.

This article is part of the GL News Service special coverage of the SADC Gender Protocol Summits underway across the region, offering fresh views on everyday news.


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