THERE is no denying that gender equality and women’s empowerment remain central canons for development progress in Zambia today.
However, the niggling claws of gender inequality , it seems, has continued to block women from contributing to the development agenda and lending their voice as they are barred from many development-oriented dialogues.
The United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights clears stipulates that everyone has the right to take part in the Government of his/her country.
Therefore the enablement and independence of women and the betterment of their social, economic and political status is vital for the realization of both transparent and answerable government.
We strongly feel that the participation of women in strategic decision-making points both in the private and public sectors still remains decisive in Zambia.
That the National Women in Politics Platform (NWIP) is advocating increased involvement and inclusion of women in leadership structures and decision-making positions should not be regarded as mere politicking.
S0 NWIP chairperson Saboi Imboela is right to state that that true democracy in Zambia cannot be achieved without gender equality.
“We encourage the women of Zambia to emulate various women leaders around the world to participate in the governance processes, including vying for political leadership and other positions says.
She justly says there is still a long way to go before Zambia can comfortably claim that women are well represented in all leadership and decision-making positions at all levels.
Ms Imboela has also been quickly buttressed by Zambia National Womens Lobby (ZNWL) executive director Juliet Chibuta who says the platform her league will ensure that women speak with the same voice so that the targets are achieved.
Ms Chibuta says women have the same challenges and it is, therefore, important for them to speak with one voice to be heard.
We think it is maybe former American President Barak Obama who in 2015 on his maiden visit to Kenya aptly abridged it when he said:
“Any nation that fails to educate its girls or employ its women and allow them to maximise their potential is doomed to fall behind in the global economy. Imagine if you have a team and you don’t let half the team play, that’s stupid! That makes no sense. Evidence shows that communities that give their daughters the same opportunity as their sons are more peaceful, are more prosperous, they develop faster, are more likely to succeed, giving girls an education.”
Efforts must be stepped up to hearten our women to enter decision-making portfolios by making sure that they do not feel intimidated or threatened by these dark sides of politics and assume power.
Therefore, women who believe in serving the public trust and can commit to public accountability should enter politics to effect this transformation. If this is done, Zambia can safely say that it is on the right track to empowering women so that they can meritoriously be included in decision-making portfolios in the promotion of gender equality and growing the nation.