An extension to the original study, “At the Coalface: Gender and Local Government” that covered four SADC countries (South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Mauritius) this report demonstrates both the challenges and possibilities at the local level. The lesson from the first study is that no country in the region is likely to make the SADC targets without adopting special measures. The example of Lesotho, which has a FPTP system at the local level but adopted a system of reserved seats for women that are rotated with every new election is pertinent to Zambia which has a similar electoral system. With 58% women in local government, Lesotho is living proof that change is possible.
The evidence gathered in this research shows that even in their small numbers women in Zambia bring different perspectives and interests to local governance. They are concerned about every day issues – health, education, land and waste disposal. They are seen as hard working; accessible; close to the people and to local issues. How much more value could women add if only there were more of them! Male councillors and constituents agreed that this is a goal to strive for.