President Edgar Lungu has prodded newly appointed Gender Minister Elizabeth Phiri to address early marriages.
Speaking when he swore in Mrs Phiri as new Gender Minister to replace late Victoria Kalima, President Lungu said the new Minister is expected to help government to seriously address the numerous gender issues affecting men and women, boys and girls.
President Lungu said some of the gender issues include early marriages and gender based violence among others.
“I wish to congratulate Hon. Elizabeth Phiri MP on her appointment as a Cabinet Minister responsible for gender. I recognise her significant contribution to our party the Patriotic Front and also our country,” President Lungu wrote.
He added, “Her passion to serve the Zambian people at any leadership level is what earned her a position in the party’s central committee.”
President Lungu stated that Mrs Phiri’s commitment to the party and welfare of the Zambian people earned her an appointment to the diplomatic service as Deputy High Commissioner of the Republic of Zambia to Tanzania.
Mrs Phiri who is also Kanyama Member of Parliament said time has come for the country and the World at large to recognise efforts being put in place to advance gender equality and the fight against all forms of discrimination of one gender.
The Minister has assured women in business of her commitment to expose them to local and international platforms so as to offer them opportunities to pursue the frontiers of acceptable global business standards.
She said the Ministry of Gender is perceived to favour women and girls as compared to men and boys and this has contributed to men feeling neglected in the operations of the Ministry.
Mrs Phiri said the Ministry will work towards advocating for gender mainstreaming in all the five pillars of the Seventh National Development Plan (SNDP) and provide guidelines to public and private sectors on how to mainstream gender in their operations.
She said the Ministry will engage men as champions of gender equality and provide an enabling environment for both men and women to participate in national development.
The Minister has also pledged to continue Fighting cultural beliefs which potray women to be a weaker sex than men and continue perpetuating gender inequality.
And at the same event, President Lungu conferred the status of State Counsel on former Law Association of Zambia President Stephen Lungu and Mrs Irene Mwezi Kunda, widow of late Vice President George Kunda.
And Mrs. Phiri has pledged to work towards strengthening gender equality in all spheres of society and ensure that no one is left behind in the development of the nation.