Lungu offers direction in gender equality

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has directed three ministries to actualise the Gender Equality Commission in the amended Constitution as it will provide enforcement mechanism for achieving gender equality.

He said this at the Lusaka showgrounds yesterday during the commemoration of the International Women’s Day whose theme was “Planet 50-50: Step it up for gender equality’’.

“The establishment of the Gender  Equality Commission under part 18 Article 321 of the amended Constitution is a step in the right direction because enforcement mechanism for achieving gender equality has been placed at the national, provincial and district levels.

‘‘In addition, the Gender Equity and Equality Bill which Parliament passed in December 2015 seeks to reinforce the work of the Ministry of Gender and the Gender Equality Commission,” he said.

The ministries directed are those of Justice, Gender, Local Government and Housing.

President Lungu said Government wanted to uplift the citizens especially women who made up 51 percent of Zambia’s population to come to the table where actions and decisions were made so that the 50-50 threshold in terms of participation in national affairs was attained.

President Lungu said women had continued to play a critical role as partners in national development since independence and that the world was a better place to live in when men and women worked together.  He directed the Ministry of Gender to work in close collaboration with other line ministries in redesigning women empowerment programmes in order to widen its base from agricultural based to any other economic activity and increase women’s capacities in order for them to successfully establish and operate cooperatives. He also said that since the Patriotic Front (PF) ascended to power, it has endeavoured to ensure that women were placed at the centre of governance as demonstrated by the appointment of Inonge Wina as the first woman Vice President and Ireen Mambilima as Chief Justice.

President Lungu reiterated Government’s commitment in ending child marriages.

And United Nations resident coordinator Janet Rogan said Zambia’s amended Constitution contained significant progression in respect of the rights of women and girls for their right to participate in national affairs.

“All those harmful customary practices that affect women will need to be scrutinised; the updated Constitution also enshrines as a national value and principle the human dignity, social justice, equality and non-discriminatory,” Ms. Rogan said.

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