Gender Based Violence will end with economic empowerment – Kaseba

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——First Lady, Christine Kaseba-Sata says Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a human rights issue that calls for economic empowerment of women to be eradicated.

Dr Kaseba also said that economic empowerment can only be sustainable if women and girls are equipped with knowledge through education.

The First Lady noted that the biggest cause of GBV, especially in developing nations is poverty among women which makes them wholly dependent on men thereby making them vulnerable to the vice.

Dr Kaseba was speaking to the Voice of America (VOA) and monitored by Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) in New York yesterday.

She said many African women looked like beggars as they depended on their spouses for survival, a situation she described as unfortunate and un dignifying to the women folk.

Dr Kaseba said although women in Zambia were being empowered by government through such programmes as the Social Cash Transfer to eradicate poverty and be economically independent, it was imperative that they got educational empowerment.

She said knowledge was the biggest weapon against GBV and other forms of human rights violations.

The First Lady said it was for this reason that the Zambian government has reintroduced free education from Grade One to Grade Seven and embarked on construction of more schools while training and recruiting more teachers.

She added that the government has engaged traditional leaders in the campaign against early marriages so that the girl child goes to school and attains education that is required to fight poverty.

“Early marriages have resulted in fatal and non-fatal implications. If the young girl does not face maternal death, she would still suffer mentally, socially and economically forever because of the early marriage which would get her out of school and plunge her into everlasting poverty,” she said, adding that the end result is vulnerability to GBV.

Dr Kaseba however, praised civil society organizations for partnering with government in various ways of ensuring that the girl child accesses education which she repeatedly said was a stepping stone to poverty eradication and battle against GBV.

“Civil society is very active and working with the current government in anti Gender Based Violence programmes. Government is also showing full commitment as attested by the establishment of the Gender Ministry, mainstreaming of gender aspects in all ministries and appointment of women in top positions like the Inspector General of Police, the Chief Justice, the Auditor General and many more,” she said.

“We are doing better but still far in Parliament where there are still more male than female law makers but we are getting somewhere,” she added.

Dr Kaseba also paid glaring tribute to the media in Zambia for exposing Gender Based Violence issues, saying without the media, many women violation acts would go unnoticed because many victims and their relatives shy away from reporting the vice to relevant authorities for reasons best known to themselves.

The First Lady is in New York for the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) being held at the United Nations headquarters where she was invited as the World Health Organisation’s Good Will Ambassador of Gender Based Violence.