THE Patriotic Front and UPND say they will ensure more women are adopted as candidates in this year’s general elections because they are more resilient and hardworking compared to their male counterparts.

But the Foundation for Justice and Human Rights (FJHR) has charged that political parties’ attitude towards women had made it difficult for the country to attain the 30 per cent women’s representation as spelt out by the SADC protocol.

PF Secretary General Davies Chama told the Daily Nation in an interview yesterday that his party will ensure that over 40 per cent of women were adopted to vie for election to various positions because they were vital to national development.

Mr. Chama said that it was the PF’s policy to ensure women had an equal opportunity with men to participate in elections because their contribution was needed for the country’s growth.

He said the appointment of women to higher and strategic positions from the time the PF took over power was a clear indication of the importance the party attached to women, adding that women who wanted to be adopted to various positions were free to make their intentions known so that they could be given a chance to lead the country at any level of their aspirations. “It has always been the PF’s policy to ensure that all women who are ready to participate in the governance of the country are given an equal opportunity to achieve their goals.

In this election, we want to ensure that 40 per cent or more of all our parliamentary seats are given to women because we believe they are an important stakeholder in the running of the country.

And UPND deputy spokesperson Edwin Lifwekelo said his party had never discriminated against anyone on account of gender and will ensure that even in this year’s election, women are given an equal opportunity with men to challenge any position.

Mr. Lifwekelo said women had proved that they were more resilient, versatile and hardworking and could ‘‘contribute massively’’ to all aspects of national development, adding that the UPND will ensure that women were not overlooked.

He said the UPND was not using the SADC protocol as a yardstick for measuring the need for women to participate in national affairs but said the most important thing was picking on women who will add value to Zambia.

He also challenged women to support each other and avoid stereotyping themselves since they were the majority of the voters in Zambia.

Meanwhile, FJHR chairperson Christopher Shalwabala said most women shunned politics in Zambia because it was marred by name-calling, character assassination and hate speech, adding that political leaders needed to be issue-based if they were to attract women participation.

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