President Edgar Lungu has asked marriage counsellors alias Alangizi to stop making girls believe they are less important than men because it is embarrassing.

And NGOCC board chairperson Mary Mulenga has called on political parties to make a commitment towards adopting more women in the forthcoming 2021 general elections.

Meanwhile, American Embassy Charge D’affairs David Young has called on all stakeholders to join in the fight against gender based violence by making it unacceptable.

Speaking when he officiated at the International Women’s Day celebrations held at Show Grounds in Lusaka, Monday, President Lungu said women were just as important as men.

“I wish therefore to ask all our leaders, traditional leaders, church leaders including marriage counsellors, to ensure that every household comes to appreciate that there is need for all of us as families to get involved in fighting gender inequality by doing the right things in our homes. I have come across women who profess to be champions of gender equality in public, in the evening when they have a chance to sit as family, leaders or as alangizi , they begin to telling young women that your place is in the kitchen, they begin telling their girls that you have no chance if you don’t get married, they begin telling girls that a man is better than a woman, please stop it, you are embarrassing us. This message is also for the church, the church has a role to play in changing our mindset, please let’s begin preaching equality between men and women, boys and girls in the scriptural context,” President Lungu said.

“There is need to get the full involvement of men and women and boys and girls in our quest to address gender inequalities and empowerment of women and girls. With this approach, we will be able to achieve our objectives with the support of cooperating partners who have already demonstrated profound willingness to support us in this development agenda.”

President Lungu lamented that society was still strongly patriarchal.

“Realizing this objective of gender equality has not been easy because our society is still strongly patriarchal and is governed by male values. These patriarchal values which fight a woman must be fought starting with us now. Government is committed to ensuring that women and men, girls and boys are given equal value and opportunities in all areas of socio-economic development. I call upon traditional leaders to help us achieve gender equality in our society. This year’s theme draws us to the importance of driving the gender equality agenda across all generations, hence the need to carry everyone along regardless of age,” said President Lungu.

And speaking at the same event, Mulenga asked political parties to adopt more women in 2021.

“Further, Your Excellency, on behalf of the women’s movement, we appeal to government to facilitate a mechanism that will enhance women’s participation in politics ahead of the 2021 elections. We need a commitment by all political parties that they will adopt more women ahead of 2021. It is without doubt a human rights violation to exclude women from actively participating in the governance of their country,” said Mulenga.

Meanwhile, Young asked everyone to join the fight against GBV.

“The honorable minister, my colleagues from the US have worked together in the fight against gender based violence and it is the job of all of us, women, and men, girls and boys to fight against what we call GBV because it permanently harms the physical and emotional health of the survivor….Think for a moment what this means, some young girls, grow up thinking gender based violence is okay, clearly we all have a lot of work to do. We need to do better for our young ones,” said Young.