Society has a bias towards men – Sampa

WE are trying to encourage the women to excel in the Zambia Police Service, says NGOCC board secretary Annie Sampa.
Sampa says society has a bias towards the male gender given the numbers of women that are in decision-making positions.
Opening the gender workshop for police officers at Fatmols Lodge in Lusaka, Sampa said lack of political will was one of the reasons barring attainment of gender equality.
She said efforts to reverse the gender inequalities were being frustrated.
“The vision of NGOCC is to have a society where women are empowered and fully participate in social, cultural, economic and political development. Despite the fact that a number of women retire than men in Zambia, we find that we have very few women that are in decision making positions and therefore, participating fully in various local, national and international developmental processes and programmes,” Sampa said.
“It is still evident that society has a bias towards the male gender and this has continued to disproportionately [affect] access various services. Efforts to change the status of women at all levels in Zambia have continued to be frustrated by a number of legal impediments, lack of political will, inadequate resources and skills amongst the women and social cultural practices that are negative. The next result is that women continue to bear the harshest brunt of poverty, HIV and AIDS and the general decline in the standards of living.”
She said women were being marginalised in all sectors of life.
“We have continued to be marginal in all spheres of life be it at work, political life, in school and even in the informal sector which is a female dominated environment. This situation has not spared Zambia Police Service which is to a large extent male dominated. We are trying to encourage the women to excel in the Zambia Police Service,” Sampa said.
“Currently, there are 18,000 police officers in Zambia out of which only 6,300 are women representing 35 per cent against 11,700 men which represents 65 per cent. Further, most of the women work in periphery positions which usually puts them at the receiving end as opposed to being in decision making positions.”
Sampa said women in the police service were not well represented in high ranking positions.
“Women in the police service are lowly represented in the higher levels of decision making, for example, you will notice that all the three top officers or positions in the police service are male. Further, out of the 10 provincial commissioners, only two are female. This in comparison with 2011 when the Inspector General was female, remember, and six commissioners were also female meaning that the numbers have reduced instead of increasing,” said Sampa.
“Further statistics reveal inequalities at different levels within the service. For example, out of 150 police officers currently serving in the UN or at African Union peace keepers, only 42 are women and yet most of the affected countries where such services are needed victims are women and children.”
She said lack of confidence was also among the factors influencing the limited numbers of women in leadership positions.
“Some of the contributing factors that inhibit women participating in decision making include lack of confidence, family responsibilities. We all know that women have a triple burden, she is a worker, a mother and also a wife. Inadequate skill set also affects women taking decision making positions and also job segregation,” Sampa said.
“It is against this background that NGOCC has been implementing the project running this workshop, to build capacities of women within the police service. NGOCC has also been engaging with the police command to mainstream gender within the service, supporting women especially women police officers to strengthen their leadership skills, increase knowledge in gender. That could go a long way in bringing about equity and equality in the service.”
Sampa said employers should recognize the value and meaningful contribution that women make in development.
Zambia Police head of gender Lloyd Mushaukwa who represented the Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja thanked NGOCC for helping mainstream the gender agenda.
“On behalf of the Inspector General, I wish to thank NGOCC for this generous offer you have been giving us for the past one year plus. This simply shows that you are committed to ensure that gender mainstreaming is the core value of every police officer,” said Mushaukwa.

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