Zambia – Stella Luzuko

Date: July 6, 2018
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“Mainstreaming gender into trade could help solve the problem of gender inequalities.”

I have started assessing the effect of economic policies (trade policies in particular) on men and women, boys and girls; identifying gender-based constraints that hinder inclusive development; and help in (whenever I have a chance to) devising strategies and policy measures to overcome such constraints. In this regard, I think that mainstreaming gender into trade policy through the inclusion of gender considerations in policy formulation and implementation, and in negotiations of agreements on trade and other issues at the multilateral, regional and bilateral levels could help solve the problem of gender inequalities.

My interest in gender related issues started when I was in high school. I noted that not many girls were enrolled in classes that had Technical Drawing (T.D), Metal Work and Wood Work. I suggested that the School Management should in enrol me in a class that had all these three subjects. I used to compete favourably with the boys and always urged with them that I was well able to perform excellent in these subjects. I proved my point correct when I was selected to grade ten at National level to study these subjects at Hillcrest National Technical School in Livingstone. I strongly believed that as a girl, I was able to do what a boy could do and that I could even do it better.

Today, I work as a Socio-economic Planner at Kasama Municipal Council and I take kin interest in gender related issues hence the Gender Focal Person for Kasama District. As a Planner, I believe laws are likely to bring about change in social norms. People who view the law as legitimate are more likely to comply with it, even when it contradicts their interests. My office facilitate the preparatory meetings for outlined World AIDS/VCT Day activities, Institutional Gender Meeting, conduct monitoring and evaluation of Institutional Gender activities.

Despite best efforts to involve women, many organizations have fallen short of their goals. Among those companies that have implemented slews of programs to attract, develop, and retain women employees, gender gaps in hiring, promotion, retention rates persist with men managing better than women on all counts. Why have so many programs missed the mark? One reason is that too many gender initiatives focus solely on changing women from the way they network to the way they lead. To accelerate change, organizations must enlist both women and men to work together as allies in changing organizational norms and structures that perpetuate gender gaps.

The notion that women are good for business is one that many companies are acting on. Although the gender gap in leadership that is so common in many organizations represents a significant missed opportunity for business. While championing gender, I have realized that women, a highly skilled source of leadership talent, are being overlooked to the detriment of business. In the face of intense, global competition for talent, the companies that can tap the best talent, both women and men, will have an advantage over those that continue to rely on only men to fill top positions.

In partnership with various institutions in Kasama, the Kasama Municipality intends to provide technical training and capacity building for the both women and men in pursuit of gender equality. The Municipality will support this training by integrating gender into development tools that partners have developed to ensure a gender-responsive approach and significant results. On the ground, implementation of these tools will be done. In partnership with these various institutions, the Municipality will build the capacity of the women and men organizations by facilitating specific sessions during workshops, analysing work plans for a more gender-inclusive scope, and providing technical support on development of gender strategies and gender plans of action. I am hoping to be the one of the many people to be involved in this initiation.