The Zambia National Women’s Lobby has pledged to continue to engage various relevant stakeholders in the promotion of women’s empowerment.ZNWL will continue to lobby and advocate for the full implementation of all the laws and policy provisions enacted on promoting women’s rights especially their participation in leadership and decision making.The ZNWL has called for the Gender Commission, which is provided for under article 321 of the constitution, to be fully operational to spearhead the mainstreaming of gender equality in all public and private institutions in the country. The Womens lobby has implored government to increase the coverage for empowerment and welfare programmes for women in both urban and rural areas.This is one sure way of transforming women’s lives and achieving meaningful development as women form the majority of Zambia’s population.
Below is the Full Press Statement
March 8th is International Women’s Day (IWD). It is a day that has been set aside to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also brings world attention to the status of women in society and the challenges that they continue to face. The International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975.The Day has since been commemorated annually in many different countries under relevant themes which guide discourse on women’s issues. The Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) joins the rest of the world in commemorating this important day.
The theme of the 2018 International Women is: Time IS Now: Rural and Urban activists transforming women’s lives. The theme speaks to the importance of activism as a means of promoting the welfare of women.
Activism is about citizens initiating actions to improve the society in which they live.It involves expressing support, discontentment or advocating for reform in the social, economic and political spheres. Activism is practiced in a number of ways including; petitions, street marches, strikes, sit-ins and picketing.
Every citizen has a civic duty to be an activist. Whether it is by giving legitimacy to the leadership through voting, working towards the creation and expansion of new laws and policies as a reformist or moving society from reform to social change as a change agent.
Now more than ever, activists have a bigger platform to promote their agenda because of the advancement in technology which offers greater possibilities for interaction of people in different geographical locations in real time.
However in order for activism to thrive, there needs to be an environment where there is tolerance of divergent views, respect for freedom of expression, right to peaceful assembly and association.
ZNWL has been facilitating the transformation of women’s lives through the empowerment of women to be activists for their own issues. However, it is our firm belief that development of women cannot take place in isolation but requires the necessary backdrop of democracy, good governance, respect for the rule of law and human rights.
THE ZAMBIA WE WANT
Every Zambian must therefore embrace their activist role and advocate for the change that they desire to see.
ZNWL continues to lobby and advocate for the full implementation of all the laws and policy provisions enacted on promoting women’s rights especially their participation in leadership and decision making.
One of the key legal provisions is article 259(1) (b) of the constitution, which provides that where a person is charged with the responsibility of making an appointment or nomination to public office, that person should ensure that 50% of each gender is nominated or appointed as the case may be.
We also want to see the Gender Commission, which is provided for under article 321 of the constitution, to be fully operational to spearhead the mainstreaming of gender equality in all public and private institutions in the country.
ZNWL is also calling for the scaling -up of empowerment programmes which will focus on alleviating poverty amongst the women. While we note the many efforts that government is making in promoting women’s empowerment in rural areas through programmes such as the provision of loans to women cooperatives, tractor distribution and many other empowerment programmes, many women continue to live in abject poverty in both urban and rural areas of the country.
We therefore implore government to increase the coverage for empowerment and welfare programmes and further vary the support depending on the specific area of need of the women. This is one sure way of transforming women’s lives and achieving meaningful development as women form the majority of Zambia’s population.
Zambia National Women’s Lobby will continue to engage various relevant stakeholders in the promotion of women’s empowerment. We also endeavor to improve our programming by not only taking a multi-faceted approach but also tailoring interventions to address specific areas of need.
The attainment of the various benchmarks on gender such as the SADC Protocol and the Sustainable Development Goal number 5 are dependent on the collective will of all Zambians, let us all embrace gender equality for sustainable development.
ZNWL wishes all the women of Zambia, a happy International Women’s Day and a productive 2018.
Ms. Beauty Katebe
National Board Chairperson