Vice-President Inonge Wina has told UN Member States that the Zambian Government is committed to advancing gender equality, as demonstrated by President Edgar Lungu, to ensure that women participate at the highest level of the country’s political ranks.
Addressing the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59) at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, Vice-President Wina said the Government was working on the Gender Equality Bill, which is expected to be considered by Cabinet this year.
This is according to a media statement released by Chibaula Silwamba, First Secretary for Press and Public Relations Permanent Mission of the Republic of Zambia to the United Nations.
She said the Zambian Government enacted the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act of 2011 and amended the Penal code Act number 15 of 2005 to introduce stiffer penalties for perpetrators of sexual violence.
Mrs Wina said the change of laws were a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to abolish deep rooted violations of women’s rights, and in response to the rising levels of violence against women.
Mrs Wina informed the gathering about the death of President Michael Sata. She said Mr Sata’s visionary contribution towards the attainment of gender equality and his resolve to fighting social injustice and discrimination was unprecedented.
She said following Mr Sata’s death, Zambia lived up to its acclaimed standards of upholding internationally agreed tenets of democracy and good governance by holding free and fair presidential elections which ushered in President Lungu.
“Let me underscore my Government’s commitment to advancing Gender Equality by appointing me as Zambia’s first ever Female Vice President, a demonstration of the strong resolve by our Republican President to ensure that women participate at the highest level of political echelons in our nation,” Vice-President Wina said.
Mrs Wina said CSW59 was timely and provided opportunities for Member States to take stock of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, including current challenges.
The Vice-President said Zambia has also endeavoured to enhance the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action by stimulating gender mainstreaming in the revised sixth national development plan.
She said the Government had raised the bar for engagement of women and children’s issues through establishment of the Ministry of Gender and Child Development.
“Zambia like many other countries still have challenges in implementing the platform for action in full, mainly due to a limited resource envelop and inadequate human resources,” Mrs Wina said.
The Vice-President called on the international community, cooperating partners, the private sector, religious and faith based organisations, and civil society to continue working with the Zambian Government to speed up the implementation of the ideals of the Beijing Platform of Action, the unfinished business of the millennium declaration and for the post 2015 development agenda goals and targets relating to women equality and advancement.”