THE Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) has vowed that it will fight for political inclusion of women in Zambia’s political dispensation.
ZNWL Executive Director Juliet Chibuta observed that in the just ended general elections, women in politics faced a lot of challenges.
Ms. Chibuta pointed out cultural barriers, gender discrimination, political violence and lack of financial capacity, among others as challenges faced by the women.
She stated that political violence was the major hurdle faced by women in politics and this, she noted, was intended to scare them and undermine their right to participate in public life or get involved in governance.
“The limited participation of women in political life is fundamentally an expression of their underprivileged situation in society. Women in politics have continued to face challenges and the biggest of them all is political violence.
“Acts of violence and intimation of any kind during elections is undemocratic and a direct violation of human rights, more so that violence hinders women’s participation in the electoral process. Incidences of violence during the pre-election period affected women candidates and their supporters,” Ms Chibuta noted.
She reiterated that women in Zambia had constitutionally guaranteed rights to participate in politics, to vote and be voted for in an election, pointing out that there was need for capacity building to enhance women’s skills and knowledge on how to effectively participate in political activities.
Ms. Chubuta strongly believed that if women got the deserved support from not just political gate keepers, but the society in general, they would perform credibly well and demonstrate effective leadership.
She indicated that her organisation was committed in ensuring that women are fully included in political affairs.
“To address some of the challenges that women in politics faced in the previous election, we have lined up various programmes among them sensitisation, aimed at encouraging women to participate in politics,” she said.
Ms. Chibuta also advised the women to always participate in rural development activities and equally socialise with everybody so that they would be able to enlist support whenever there was an opportunity to serve.