PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says women are agents of change for the future and that Zambia is already making strides towards upgrading their status through various economic empowerment programmes.
And President Lungu has honoured his predecessor late president Michael Sata for the role he played in initiating the national gender policy when he was Minister without Portfolio in the second republic.
The Head of State said his decision to appoint women to influential positions was to show the Patriotic Front (PF)’s commitment to lifting the status of womenfolk in the country from being mere spectators to major stakeholders in the governance system.
“Women are the agents of change for the future and the time is now. As a Government, we are already working towards upgrading women and therefore call on all stakeholders to ensure women take priority in all sectors,” President Lungu said.
He was speaking in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Gender and Child Development Professor Nkandu Luo during the commemoration of the International Women’s Day after excused himself from the event due to fatigue.
Mr Lungu said there should be no discrimination against women or the girl child and that working together as a people would help realize the vision for gender empowerment in the country.
The Head of State said he was impressed with the PF Government’s interventions in promoting women health by improving the health sector with special interest in improving maternal healthcare with live births being at 51 percent in 2014 from previous 43 percent.
And Mr Lungu has hailed late president Sata for his contribution in recognizing women contribution into national development.
Meanwhile, UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon has bemoaned the high rate of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Zambia that seemed to be acceptable by the victims.
In a speech presented at the Women’s Day commemorations in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Ban said it was unfortunate that GBV seemed to be acceptable with over 606 percent of women believing they deserved the beatings.
“Zambia is the fifth nation where men between 15-49 years old think beating women is justifiable, while 66 percent of the women felt they deserved to be beaten as they have been indoctrinated into believing that violence is acceptable,” he said. The UN chief said with over 100 years of fighting for the recognition of women’s potential in economic and political field, it was regrettable that Zambia was recording high numbers of violation of women and children as was reported in the media.