NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
WOMEN and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) has observed that women’s rights are violated because men have been socialised to think that they have more rights than the female-folk.
WLSA programme manager Besa Mwansa said there is therefore need to unlearn the retrogressive ideals acquired through socialisation and instead learn about gender equality.
Ms Besa said this in response to a query ahead of International Women’s Day, which will be celebrated on March 8 under the theme ‘Think equal, build smart, innovate for change’.
“Through ‘think equal’, which entails the recognition of women’s rights on an equal basis as men, we can break the cycle of violence, negative stereotypes, and prejudicial judgements especially against women, thereby encouraging values, empathy, and respect for the dignity and equality of others,” she said.
Ms Besa said for the aspect of think equal to be relevant and applicable, both men and women need to effectively work together, with men being sensitised on the rights of women.
On the aspect of ‘build smart’, Ms Besa said WLSA recognises the need for women, men, girls and boys to build their capacity in gender and for them to also understand the advantages of gender equality.
She said, therefore, that WLSA focuses on building capacity of various stakeholders and community members on the provisions of various gender- related laws.
Commenting on the aspect of ‘innovate for change’, Ms Besa said WLSA recognises the importance of having laws and necessary infrastructure that facilitate change.
“Laws can be used to remove barriers and accelerate progress for gender equality, encourage investment in gender-responsive social systems and build services and infrastructure that meet the needs of women and girls,” she said.
Ms Besa added that in future, the legal Framework on child marriage also needs to be strengthened to provide full protection for children.
She said as the country innovates for change, WLSA sees the need to have more shelters for gender-based Violence (GBV) victims, financing of the GBV Fund, creation of more fast-track courts and also establishment of a gender equity and equality commission.
NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka