CEDAW domestication positive

1
Discrimination against Women

ZAMBIA is party to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which it ratified in 1985.
The CEDAW commonly referred to as the Bill of Rights for women is an international instrument which aims at securing the fundamental rights of women and young girls.
However, despite the convention being ratified 28 years ago, Zambia has not yet domesticated it.
To this effect, Government through the Ministry of Gender has embarked on the process of domesticating the CEDAW and undertook a mapping exercise which showed the various institutions which could help in the implementation.
Government has further engaged a consultant to facilitate the quick development of the Draft Gender Equality Bill on the convention.
While Government has demonstrated political will towards the domestication of the CEDAW, the technocrats on the other hand do not seem to be mindful of the precious value of time.
This has prompted Minister of Gender Inonge Wina to issue an ultimatum for the consultants to work within the time frame given and ensure the draft Bill is submitted in the next session of Parliament.
The technocrats charged with the responsibility of developing the draft bill need to understand that domestication of the CEDAW is key if Zambia is to achieve and maintain gender balance in both public and political life. This is because the CEDAW is the most important and legally binding international human rights instrument in that aspect.
For instance, article two of the CEDAW urges state parties to embody the principle of equality of men and women in their national constitutions.
The article also provides for the adoption of appropriate legislative and other measures, including sanctions where appropriate, prohibiting all discrimination against women.
And significant from this article is the obligation by member states to repeal all national provisions which constitute discrimination against women.
Gender equality is, first and foremost, a human right. Women are entitled to live in dignity and in freedom from want and from fear. Empowering women is also an indispensable tool for advancing development and reducing poverty.
Empowered women contribute to the health and productivity of families and communities and to improved prospects for the future generations.
The importance of gender equality is underscored by its inclusion as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals. Gender equality is acknowledged as being a key to achieving the other seven goals.
Research has also shown that there are linkages between effective governance of a country and gender equality and also the country’s ability to deliver quality basic services.
Studies have further established that more equal societies also lead to lower levels of corruption. Countries ranking high on indicators such as governance effectiveness, rule of law and control of corruption tend to also do well on the Gender Inequality Index.

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