Minister of Gender Elizabeth Phiri has urged women in developing nations to actively engage in political governance in order to bridge the social and economic gender gap, for sustainable development.
And Phiri has observed that educated women in Zambia are shunning politics because the male-dominated political sphere has remained aggressive.
According to a statement issued by First Secretary for Press at the Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, Wallen Simwaka, Tuesday, Phiri was speaking when she opened the 63rd UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) side event held under the theme “Promoting Rights-based Social Protection Policies for Gender Equality, a prerequisite for Social Justice and Sustainable Development.”
The side event was organized by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in conjunction with Zambia, Women in Informal Employment Globalising Organising, Africa Platform for Social Protection and Africa Labour Network.
Phiri observed that educated women in Zambia, as in many other countries, were shunning politics because the male-dominated political sphere had often been hostile and unpleasant to the female gender.
She noted that competition in elective political positions in many countries was often too aggressive for the full participation of educated women, hence creating gender inequalities.
Phiri, however, said government had continued to create an enabling environment for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women through a range of innovative policies meant to close the gender social, economic and political disparities.
“In Zambia, like many other countries, particularly in developing nations, for women to get to high elective political positions, they have to defeat men and it is not an easy undertaking. Educated women are shunning politics because the male-dominated political sphere has remained aggressive. But women have to actively engage in the political governance of countries if the social and economic gender gap has to be closed for sustainable development,” she said.
And Phiri said Zambia remained committed to enhancing gender mainstreaming through the development of policies and programmes that would be able to reduce poverty and vulnerability among women and girls.
She said Zambia’s implementation of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme had so far improved nutrition levels among vulnerable rural households and they could now access adequate food.
Phiri further said government was implementing the Food Security Programme which was aimed at enhancing food security at household level through crop diversification, conservation farming, as well as the promotion of alternative livelihoods among communities.
“The role of the Social Protection System is not only reducing poverty but also for achieving human development outcomes such as nutrition, health and education and tackling social inequality. Social protection programmes have the ability to tackle social constraints such as lack of income or income-generating capacity,” said Phiri.
The 63rd Commission on the Status of Women was also attended by Ministry of Gender Permanent Secretary Dr Auxillia Ponga, Zambia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Lazarous Kapambwe, a civil rights activist from Kenya Helen Mudora and Dr Laura Alfers of Women in Informal Employment Globalising and Organising in South Africa.