Banda demands restoring the Ministry of Gender

THE Zambia National Men’s Network for Gender and Development (ZNMNGD) says Zambia needs to urgently create institutions that will help the country deal with many emerging challenges affecting women, men, girls and boys.

It is demanding that President Hakainde Hichilema restores the Ministry of Gender and strengthens it.

National coordinator Nelson Banda said the network was saddened at what seems like the retrogressive decision to do away with the Ministry of Gender which would inequitably affect the progress made in reaching gender equity and equality in many areas of development and especially in the representation of women in general leadership and the political sphere and their appointment to decision making positions.

“While the creation of the Ministry of Gender was meant to address gender inequality and promote women empowerment, it is noticed that the Ministry is no longer in existence thereby creating a national and regional gap,” he said. “It is important that Zambia continues to make gains in the advancement of women and girls’ rights and the continuation of the Ministry of Gender and it being given stronger mandates will enable the country to attain these national aspirations. As a country we need to urgently rectify situations like the one in the Mazabuka Council where all the elected councillors in the recent general elections are men. In a country where more than half the populations are women, it is an injustice to have women excluded from governance institutions.”

He said the whole world was promoting and implementing programmes that recognise gender equality as a development tool.

Banda said it was highly erroneous for Zambia to go 10 steps backwards.

“Zambia needs to urgently create institutions that will help the country be strengthened in dealing with many emerging challenges affecting women, men, girls and boys,” he said.

Banda said gender equality was a human rights issue.

He noted that Zambia was a signatory to regional and international instruments such as the Convention on the elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the SADC and African Union, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Zambian Constitution which all have provisions to advance gender equality.

“We feel that the Ministry of Gender should have been spared, strengthened and adequately resourced to be more effective in dealing with all forms of gender barriers that disadvantage women and girls. We also notice that although our current Constitution in Article 231 provides for a Gender Equity and Equality Commission this has never been effected,” he said. “In many instances gender equality has been taken as a mere pronouncement without taking practical steps to ensure that it is an economic development tool to realise the country’s economic growth.”

Banda said as a male organisation which works to promote gender equality and ending all forms of gender injustices, ZNMNGD would like to strongly point out that the country should not lag behind in advancing gender equality at all levels because this has economic, social and democratic implications to the country.

“We therefore wish to demand that the President restores the Ministry of Gender and that his government strives to put more practical efforts in advancing the gender agenda because of its strategic importance and the key role in achieving national economic, social and democratic development,” said Banda.

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