United Nations resident coordinator Janet Rogan says she is encouraged to see many talented women venturing into the manufacturing sector in Zambia.

Rogan was speaking at the inaugural seminar and award ceremony on women’s participation in the manufacturing sector at Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka this morning.

“It is indeed encouraging to see so many talented and dedicated women working in the manufacturing [industry]. When you inspire and reach out to other women in other sectors, you’re in effect providing value addition on value addition – a real multiplier effect for transformative sustainable development,” Rogan said.

“Quite simply, when women participate fully in the labour force, it creates opportunities and generates growth. Globally, closing the gender gap in employment could add 12 trillion to the GDP in the next 8 years (by 2025). This is what we mean by transformative sustainable development.”

She said the theme for the event; “promoting inclusiveness and participation” was targeted at men to accommodate women in the industry.

“Particularly, this message is directed towards men, who generally posses the power and who occupy the space, to tell them that they need to share power, share space with women,” said Rogan.

“The second message which is ‘participation’ is about taking power and stepping into that shared space in order to participate. Particularly, this message is to women to take power, not only over their own lives and those of their families in the domestic space, but also in the public space – taking power and participating in community decision-making, climbing the ladder in the workplace, pushing out into non-traditional sectors, educating and training themselves, running their own business and employing others, taking responsibility for their own financial and legal affairs.”

And the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) president Roseta Chabala said women in manufacturing are faced with numerous challenges in trying to expand their businesses, which he said led to inadequate participation of women in the sector.

Those who were awarded include: Aisha Kayabwe, Director of Grandma School who got the Life Time Woman Achiever Award, Edwards won the Mentorship Award and Belite de lu Court owner of Lamoz Fashions (Fast Growth Woman-owned Business). Others who were honoured are, Roseta Chabala who won the Manufacturing Sector Woman Advocacy Award and Kasazi Nyendwa went away with the Young Woman Achiever Award.