Editor's Comment

Unity among female MPs key to gender fight

ACTING President Inonge Wina speaking during a PF women conference on female aspiring candidates at Mulungushi International Conference Centre yesterday. PICTURE: COLLINS PHIRI

AMERICAN philosopher Mattie Stepanek once said, “Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”
In every sphere of life unity is key for success because without it, failure is imminent.
As women continue to push the gender agenda, unity is the inevitable ingredient for victory.Without it the fight for gender equality will remain a fallacy.
We therefore support Vice-President, Inonge Wina’s call for female parliamentarians to unite beyond partisan lines to effectively support the welfare of women and children.
Ms Wina urged the female MPs to embrace the spirit of comradeship to advance the cause for equal rights of women and children.
Currently we have 10 women out of 30 at cabinet translating to 33.3 percent while we have 30 women out of 164 MPs, which is 18.2 percent.
These statistics fall short of our target to have 50 percent representation of women in politics and decision-making.
As the Vice-President rightly pointed out, while the number of women in Parliament is small, it can be harnessed to achieve greater gender equality.
Despite having few female parliamentarians, much can be achieved in promoting gender equality if only female lawmakers put their political differences aside and unite to push the gender agenda.
Those women who are still in the doldrums of inequality are looking up to those that have gone ahead to offer support and hope.
The current cadre of female parliamentarians should therefore bear in mind that the responsibility to push for gender equality lies squarely on their shoulders.
If Zambia is to achieve 50 percent female representation in politics and decision-making, the current female lawmakers need to work together and champion the presentation of bills and motions that promote gender equality.
The female lawmakers should work hard to ensure that they pave way for more women to take part in politics and indeed other sectors of life.
We also agree with her honour the Vice-president that the female lawmakers need to meticulously study the constitution and propose amendments to any provisions that hinder gender equality.
The female law-makers can only make significant contributions to the fight against gender inequality if they are equipped with knowledge.
This is why they should seek to understand the constitution, party manifestos and indeed happenings locally and internationally to make astute and informed contributions in Parliament.
We expect these women to bring to Parliament debate, the perspective of women that would ordinarily, though not deliberately, be overlooked by their male counterparts.
The female lawmakers should also be vigilant and look out for any laws that do not promote the cause of women.
We expect these women to be vocal in Parliament and speak for the cause of women and children in our society.
Apart from advocating gender-sensitive laws in Parliament, these few women in politics should take it upon themselves to mentor other women who wish to venture into politics.
Borrowing from a Latin writer Publilius Syrus who said, “Where there is unity there is always victory.” If female lawmakers can put aside their political differences to push the gender agenda, then victory is certain.

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