Women are not benefiting fully from Zambia’s economic resources

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Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) Board Chairperson Komiwe Zulu
Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) Board Chairperson Komiwe Zulu

Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) Board Chairperson Komiwe Zulu has called for urgent promotion of social and economic justice for women in Zambia.

Ms. Zulu said despite being the majority in the population the women in Zambia constitute the majority poor, illiterate, unemployed, and are economically and financially excluded.

She said the women in Zambia are also the least represented in key decision-making positions.

Speaking during the provincial stakeholder engagement and advocacy meeting on the women’s manifesto in Ndola, Ms. Zulu said women are not benefiting fully from Zambia’s economic resources because unemployment, financial and economic exclusion, including income poverty, have remained high among women.

“As you are aware, women make up the majority in terms of the population of the country at 51% and also the majority voters at 53.5%. But despite being the majority in population and voters, the women in Zambia constitute the majority poor, illiterate, unemployed, and are economically and financially excluded. Women are also the least represented in key decision-making positions.In order to ensure that women are no longer excluded from the decision-making and development processes, the Zambia National Women’s Lobby in partnership with other Women’s Movement organisations and the Democracy Works Foundation formulated the “Women’s Manifesto” prior to the 2021 elections,” Ms. Zulu stated.

“The Women’s Manifesto entitled “Towards the 2021 General Election in Zambia and beyond, is a collective, non-partisan, women driven agenda that reflects the needs and aspirations of Zambian women by outlining the development and policy priorities. It was formulated in a consultative process involving a cross-section of women groups and organizations at national and local levels. The stakeholders who contributed to the formulation of the manifesto represented different sectors including political parties, civil society, public institutions, private sector, and tertiary education. In addition, the aspirations of women with disabilities were also integrated,” she said.

Ms. Zulu said ZNWL wants all political parties in the 2021 general elections that signed up to the Women’s Manifesto to action it.

“The Women’s Manifesto was presented to all major political parties that were participating in the 2021 elections which included the UPND, PF, MMD, DP, NDC, SP and FDD. Among the immediate uses of the Manifesto was to guide political parties in campaigning on issues related to the welfare of the women in Zambia. All the political parties signed an endorsement letter acknowledging the contents of the Women’s Manifesto and pledging to drive the issues once elected in office,” she said.

“The Women’s Movement now eagerly awaits the implementation of some of the key issues highlighted in the Women’s Manifesto. Among the salient issues include the adoption of national development models which are anchored on the principles of equity. This is because women are not benefiting fully from Zambia’s economic resources. Unemployment, financial and economic exclusion, including income poverty, has remained high among the majority of women in Zambia. The women therefore demand for the creation of jobs and employment, both in the formal and informal sectors and women should be given priority,” she said.

Ms. Zulu further advocated the enforcement of legislation on Gender Equality and Equity Act.

“Another priority for the women is the enforcement of legislation on Gender Equality and Equity Act. This law is important because it offers a great opportunity to address long outstanding causes and drivers of gender inequality in both the public and private sectors. Thus, the effective enforcement of this Act will result in practical improvement in the representation of women in the economy, public administration and political sectors. Additionally, the women demand for a stronger fight against Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Zambia, particularly in the social and political spheres of life,” Ms. Zulu said.

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