The First Lady of the Republic of Zambia Mrs Esther Lungu arrived in New York on Saturday, and expressed optimism that her high-profile engagements at the Sixty-First session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) will help Zambia mobilise resources for women and girls’ empowerment.
Mrs. Lungu – who is a strong advocate for women empowerment, safe motherhood, protection of the girl child, promotion of rights for persons with disabilities and fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV) – was speaking to Zambian journalists covering the Commission on the Status of Women that will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017.
“Zambia’s participation at the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women is of great importance in the sense that I take it to be an exchange programme of ideas springing from the international community where we shall have the involvement and participation of high profile personalities and people from countries from around the world,” Mrs. Lungu said.
She said CSW was significant to Zambia and that the country would utlise the platform to highlight the milestones it has achieved in the protection and promotion of the welfare of women.
“Our cooperating partners would also want to hear the challenges that we are facing in our quest to provide protection and promotion of our women and children’s welfare,” Mrs Lungu said. “As we are here, me as First Lady I should lobby and mobilise resources from our cooperating partners including the UN agencies that are already in good books with us, but upon receiving our report on how much we have done, it should encourage them to do much more.”
She said the Esther Lungu Foundation Trust act as one of the vehicles for the line ministries to use in delivering services to the people of Zambia, especially the less privileged.
“We want to make sure that our girl children receive empowerment – education, good health – and our women also need economic empowerment because they are the people who have a lot of responsibilities in these households,” said Mrs. Lungu. “Empowering women means the children will grow up in decent environment, they will receive the education that they need and in the end they will be independent citizens who are going to contribute towards the economic growth of our country.”
The First Lady will participate in the largest annual women’s gathering, which draws hundreds of participants from Government Ministers and officials, First Ladies, princesses, policy makers and implementers, heads of UN agencies and other international organizations, donor agencies, civil society organizations, corporate executives, women’s movement, celebrities, human rights activists and other stakeholders from across the world.
Gender Minister Honourable Victoria Kalima, MP for Kasenengwe, will lead the Zambian delegation to the Sixty-First session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
The priority theme for CSW61 is “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work” and the Review theme is “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls (agreed conclusions of the fifty-eighth session) while emerging issue and focus area will be “the empowerment of indigenous women”.
Zambia has won international respect for its advocacy and implementation of policies and programmes that protect and promote the wellbeing of women and girls.