Government says it is aware of the many challenges that women face in the social and economic development.
Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Belinda Kawandami said there is need for stakeholders to work together and uplift the status of women because social and economic development cannot be achieved without the active and effective participation of women at all levels.
Ms Kawandami was speaking at the Boma grounds in Choma today when she officiated at this year’s International Women’s Day whose theme is ”The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.”
She said the country has scored a number of successes in various sectors adding that the coming of the Patriotic Front government has accelerated the promotion of gender equality and participation of women in decision making.
”Today, Zambia can boast of being among the top countries in the world to have appointed the first female Inspector General of Police. In the Judiciary and other institutions, more women have been appointed to oversee decision making at the highest level,” she said.
Ms Kawandami further said the enactment of the Anti Gender Based Violence was a major step forward in the fight against gender based violence adding that the Act gives hope to many woman and children who have been subjected to gender based violence without adequate recourse.
She has since called on the Provincial Administration in Southern Province to effectively implement the Act and address harmful traditional practices as well as to establish shelters and an all inclusive Gender Based Violence committee.
Ms Kawandami said it was the intention of government to establish the Gender Based Violence Fund to assist victims and make provision for emergency monetary relief as required by the Anti GBV Act.
She said she was happy that the Women Economic Empowerment Fund under the Ministry of Gender and Child Development had been disbursed based on the local needs of the people.
”Under the new approach by the Patriotic Front government, our women have in some cases received not just hammer mills but also oxen, ploughs and ox-carts for farming. Others have chosen to receive poultry equipment, rice polishers and peanut butter making machines or hammer mills in order to improve their businesses thereby increasing their food security at household levels,” she said.
Speaking earlier, Choma District Commissioner Golden Nyambe said he had received disturbing reports that some companies had refused their female workers to attend the Women’s day function.
Mr Nyambe said he would on Monday summon all those organisations that had not allowed their female workers to attend the International Women’s Day.
And Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Southern Province chapter Liason Officer Faith Simukoko called on government to make defilement a non-bailable offence.
She also said government should prioritise education in the rural areas and hoped government would be able to leverage the playing field so that the rural woman is not left behind.
At the same function, five women aged 70 years and above were also honoured with solar cellphones and one packet of chicken each.
Those honoured included 80 year old Mrs Salomi Muleya from Choma, 84 year old Mrs Martha Mweemba from Kalomo, 73 year old Mrs Janet Simeya from Siavonga, 80 year old Mrs Donalesi Mbambala from Gwembe and 86 year old Ms Theresa Chilala from Monze.
Ten women groups also received hammer mills and these included Mulumbwa, Marcon, Muyalu, Bani-Banji, Nsinde Mujala, Mabbanan, Buka Bwacha, Lusumpuko, Mukaintu Wamaanu and Manyona Womens clubs of Monze, Kalomo, Siavonga, Choma, Kazungula, Mazabuka, Sinazongwe, Chikankata, Gwembe and Pemba districts respectively.