THE Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) says it will follow with keen interest government programmes for enhancing women’s participation in political leadership.
Board chairperson Beauty Katebe said this was critical as the number of women in leadership at local government and parliamentary level reduced after the 2021 general elections
Katebe congratulated President Hakainde Hichilema on his maiden speech to Parliament during the opening of the 1st session of the 13th National Assembly.
“The President’s speech gave a general outline of priority areas of work for his administration. ZNWL noted a number of pronouncements made by President Hichilema on the promotion of the welfare of women and girls,” she said. “President Hichilema indicated that his government would prioritise investment in health, social protection, water and sanitation. ZNWL supports this policy direction because these sectors are key to women’s welfare and their ability to effectively participate in the development processes of the nation.”
Katebe said ZNWL also noted the government’s commitment to ensuring girl children have an equal opportunity to access education by addressing the challenges faced by female learners and that many female leaners should access educational support services such as bursaries.
She hoped the government could build on the existing affirmative action policies aimed at promoting gender equity in all sectors.
“The President also committed his government to engaging rural and urban communities in the planning and delivery of services. We implore the government to ensure that more women constitute these planning committees especially in rural communities where there are many challenges. This is important because women’s life experiences are different from the men,” she said. “Women’s involvement in the community’s activities is crosscutting and often at different levels, thus they will bring to the table the required knowledge, experiences and energies necessary for the achievement of development.
ZNWL noted that the government would prioritise women’s empowerment as a poverty reduction strategy.
“We support this policy direction because the burden of poverty is borne by women. We further implore government to prioritise women in rural and remote areas and ensure that the appropriate support is provided. There is however need for a robust monitoring mechanism to be put in place that will ensure that the President’s pronouncements are actualised and do not end as mere contents of a maiden speech,” said Katebe. “ZNWL will follow with keen interest, government programmes for enhancing women’s participation in political leadership. This is critical as the number of women in leadership at local government and parliamentary level reduced after the 2021 general elections. ZNWL wishes the new government success as they embark on the task of serving the people of Zambia.”