THE Non-Governmental Gender Organization Coordinating Council (NGOCC) says the council seeks to encourage more women to participate in next year’s general election.

Speaking when she opened a media training on the Maputo and Banjul protocol and women’s participation in politics and decision making, Wednesday, NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale said if inequalities persisted, women would be missing at decision making tables.

“The gender inequality index for Zambia still remains quite high at 0.63 percent which of course almost every time provides us with the reasons and justifications to continue doing what we are doing. We are always doing that with the aim, together with yourselves, will be able to break the barriers that keep women at the peripherals of development. We will together with yourselves work as champions to be able to deal with the patriarchy that continues to perpetuate women’s vulnerability and marginalization. We will aspire to get our society in championing gender inequality because if the inequalities continue, we will definitely see a situation where women are missing at the decision making tables. Women are lagging behind when it comes to accessing opportunities. It is therefore critical that NGOCC and the media work towards realizing the important goal of gender inequality to be able to attain sustainable development,” said Mwale.

“We want to reinvigorate the network of media partners in promoting women participation in the next year’s general election. We are all aware that Zambia goes to the polls in 2021 and we are going to the polls from a lower level of representation by women, nine percent at local government, 18 percent or less in Parliament. How can we be able to make a difference? One thing for sure is that the interest by women to get in to politics has actually gone up but obviously, there are quite a number of hurdles that keep relegating the women outside the political arena. NGOCC has developed a coordinated elections campaign strategy targeting women’s participation in 2021 and beyond. We know that political parties remain the main gate keepers of our political participation so one of the things we have prioritized in this strategy is engaging with political party presidents and political party leaders on seeking their commitments towards adopting a 50-50 percent of women in 2021.”