Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini has approved for debate in parliament this Wednesday, a private members motion that seeks to “take measures to ensure equal opportunities.”

The motion is to be moved by Choma Central UPND member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa and seeks the House to urge government to take measures of ensuring that opportunities for appointments, training, and advancement in the public service are made available to all employees without discrimination.

And speaking to News Diggers, parliamentary Mens’ Caucus on Gender Equality chairman Cornelius Mweetwa said he realised that the women parliamentarian caucus need support.

“This is a motion which I am moving as chairman for the ‘Mens’ parliamentary Caucus on Gender Equality at parliament,’ and that particular article of the Constitution talks about equal gender opportunities. So I can confirm that Mr Speaker has granted authority that that motion be debated this week Wednesday. And the structure of this motion will be really to advance issues of gender equality because we the male parliamentarians have realised since parliament is predominantly dominated by men, for the gender agenda to gain ground through parliament, the women parliamentary caucus need our support so that we work together to advance the gender agenda,” Mweetwa explained.

But Mweetwa said gender equality should was not expected to be viewed as a competition between men and women, but rather as a value addition to national development.

“We’ve also come to a realisation that the question of gender equality should not be viewed as a competition or threats to men, it is actually value addition to national development. So we expect as male parliamentarians a robust debate this Wednesday where our network expects that all members of the House regardless of a political party affiliation should rise to the occasion and support the advancement of women issues to ensure that we begin to unlock doors of potential that have remained locked for a very long time, that should unleash women potentials and women contribution to national development. I have seen and read where Mizinga Meru was saying ‘it is extremely difficult for a woman to rise to the top.’ Yes it is difficult for a woman to rise to the top in decision making ranking and also in politics and the reason why it is so difficult is that men and women have not worked together to try and eliminate challenges inhibiting women progress, with men being the major culprits in making it difficult for women to progress especially in politics,” said Mweetwa.

“So the mens’ parliamentary network on gender equality has come on board as you recall it was launched on 7th March 2018 by Mr Speaker at Parliament, we are on a very serious and no negotiable mission to ensure that we support women and women advancement issues. That is the direction [we have taken and] this is a non-political issue, this is a developmental motion and as Mens’ network we expect all the women on the floor of the House on the material day to rise to the opportunity and cease the opportunity to join hands so that the women of Zambia take their right place. Rwanda has already made remarkable strides, a country that already has a stained history of war. Zambia with 64 years of independence and peace has not done enough to advance women issues and time has come.” Said Mweetwa.