The Copperbelt provincial Gender Sub-Sommittee has called on departments to include gender activities in their annual departmental budgets.
Committee Chairperson Janet Chongo said gender programmes must not be left out of the budgets of government departments and NGOs because they were critical to the development and implementation of programmes.
She said it was important to raise awareness on the gender roles in the development process so that both sexes were treated equally and accorded equal oportunity and participation.
She said leadership structures at every level should address gender imbalances that have been responsible for women’s low participation and involvement in the development process.
She made the call in Ndola when she closed a Gender Mainstreaming Orientation Workshop which included some provincial Committee members and some Gender Focal Point Persons from five districts.
Committee Vice Chairperson Weddie Kalumba said gender was a serious component in national development because there was need to see a larger percentage of women in decision making positions at all levels.
Mr. Kalumba who is from the NGOCC, said the civil society and government needed to raise awareness on gender issues in their work place and programmes.
He said he had observed with concern that many civil servants and government workers were very ignorant of gender issues. He added that there was need to promote meetings that were addressing gender imbalances at work places and community leadership structures.
Mr. Kalumba said time has come when the positions of Resident Development Committee Chairpersons should be given to women and see how they could perform because they also have the capacity to move the community developmental agenda forward.
He called for women’s effective participation in the developmental agenda of the country at all levels so that they should not just be waiting for their men folk to make decisions for them and only exercise their rights at implementation stage.
But one member Ms. Sharon Chitalu expressed concern that as much as women wanted decision making positions, there was a limit as far as they could go because the men folk were generally advantaged than the women.
She said women rights should be exercised within the context of what they could handle because competing with their men folk might not be a useful path to pursue with conviction.