MORE than 16,000 Gender Based Violence cases were reported last year, says Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) Central province regional coordinator Juliet Kawanda.
She called on Government to ensure that perpetrators were severely punished.
Ms. Kawanda, who was speaking at Godfrey Chitalu stadium in Kabwe during the women’s day celebrations bemoaned the high poverty levels.
She said until Government addressed the plight of women, the country would continue wallowing in abject poverty.
She took a swipe at the Government for the delay in enacting a people-driven Constitution and declared that the demand for a referendum in the constitution making process was non-negotiable.
Ms Kawanda, however, thanked President Edgar Lungu for appointing Inonge Wina who is the country’s first female Vice President.
“We had more than 16,000 cases of gender based violence reported last year we would like the Government to look at this and punish the perpetrators. We also demand for the enactment of the Constitution and the demand for a referendum is non-negotiable,” she said.
Meanwhile, Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Minister Joseph Katema, who was officiating at the occassion, said that gender issues were for both men and women.
Dr. Katema encouraged men to be supportive to the cause of women as witnessed at the event where men marched alongside the female folk.
The minister bemoaned the continued control of power, which lay in men’s hands which he said had disadvantaged women and the girl child, resulting into high poverty, low literacy levels, teenage or unwanted pregnancies and early or forced marriages which he said stood at 42 percent.
He urged the nation to draw lessons from Rwanda, which was steadily addressing gender equality.
Dr. Katema said that the Zambian government was ready to take the lead in promoting gender equality, as outlined in the 2014 national gender policy which stated that men and women as well as boys and girls were given equal opportunities to realise their potential and succeed without any discrimination.
The Kabwe commemoration was attended by women from the corporate organisations, political parties, civil service and defence and security services.