THE Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) says the women’s movement is concerned that the scrapping of the Ministry of Gender will have a far reaching impact on the positive gains made in advancing the gender agenda.
In a statement, Tuesday, NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale said there was need for government to provide clear policy direction on how the Gender Machinery would be structured and operate in advancing women and girls’ issues.
“The women’s movement is concerned that the scraping off of the Ministry of Gender will have a far reaching impact on the positive gains made in advancing the gender agenda thus far. lt is indisputable that globally gender disparities undermine development efforts and hence the need to systematically remove these disparities. lt is said that “Empowering women is essential to the health and social development of families, communities and countries. When women are living safe, fulfilled and productive lives, they can reach their full potential, contributing their skills to the workforce and can raise happier and healthier children,” read the statement.
“The Ministry of Gender was an essential part in the Gender machinery of this nation and there is need for the Government to provide clear policy direction on how the Gender Machinery will be structured and operate in advancing women and girls issues as a way of providing continuity in the country’s commitment to reducing gender inequalities that have negatively disposed most women and girls in the country. It is also fundamental that Zambia remains in line with gender machineries in the SADC region and at AU level given that the gender agenda is a shared concern globally.”
Mwale said her organisation was elated that President Hakainde Hichilema had stated that women’s empowerment would be an important strategy for overcoming poverty and other social ills of society.
“NGOCC has noted the speech by His Excellency Mr Hakainde Hichilema, the President of the Republic of Zambia during the official opening of the First Session of the Thirteenth National Assembly. President Hichilema has without doubt provided the necessary and inspiring broad based policy framework to guide the new dawn government in the next five years. As a women’s movement we are therefore happy to note some of the positive pronouncements with regards to the gender agenda, the empowerment of women and girls. As the focal point of the women’s movement in Zambia we are glad to note that the new Government has anchored their strategic plan for development of the Nation on the 15 UN Sustainable Development Goals. We are elated that His Excellency categorically stated that women’s empowerment will be an important strategy for overcoming poverty, marginalization and other social ills of society,” Mwale said.
“As we have always stated, gender equality remains key to sustainable development. lt is gratifying therefore, that government will accelerate the implementation of programs aimed at promoting the participation of women in economic empowerment and livelihood interventions. We further note the government prioritizing women’s representation in political leadership, commerce and decision making. Access to quality social services for the citizens, especially the most vulnerable women and children remains key to sustainable development as espoused by the UNSDG number 3 Good Health and Well-Being. NGOCC is thus glad to note government’s plan to enhance health care financing to improve the quality of health service delivery. Over the years access to health care services for citizens in rural areas has remained a challenge. NGOCC gives a thumbs up to the government for recognizing that rural and urban communities ought to be involved in the planning and delivery of healthcare services in their localities.”
Mwale further stated that she was happy that government focused on the provision of quality and equitable education for all.
“The women’s movement is happy to note that the government is focusing on the provision of quality and equitable access to education for all. It is particularly gratifying that government is focusing on ensuring that they eradicate any impediments hampering girl child education. Statistically “Two-thirds of all illiterate people are women and more than 65% of people living in the most extreme poverty globally are women and girls”. Education liberates the intellect and is fundamental for self-esteem. It is the key to prosperity and opens a world of opportunities, making it possible for all of us to contribute to a progressive and healthy society,” stated Mwale.
“With women constituting over 51% of Zambia’s population, we are pleased that the government has acknowledged this pool of human capital that can play a massive rote to propel this nation into a society with fewer gender inequalities, increased income and reduced poverty levels. There is, however, need for the Government to be more categorial in terms of how Government hopes to implement and engineer the mainstreamed gender agenda as elucidated by the Head of State.”