Editor's Comment

Women be silent no more

CHIPATA City Council women fire fighters displaying their skills during Women’s Day celebrations at David Kaunda Stadium on Friday. PICTURE: DARLINGTON MWENDABAI

THE challenge by President Edgar Lungu to women to speak out when their rights are violated should be seen as an opportunity that should not be wasted.
By making the challenge, the President is giving the women an opportunity to voice out when their rights are violated.
At the same time, he is saying they should speak out and he will listen to their complaints and take care of them by helping to find a solution.
It is important that the challenge is coming from the highest office in the land and this is why we say the women should get hold of this opportunity.
By posing the challenge, the President recognises that women still face a number of violations of their rights and it is time the violations were brought to an end.
President Lungu, in his address during the International Women’s Day celebrations at the Lusaka Showgrounds, where thousands of women from all walks of life gathered, said women should speak out when their rights are violated because silence would hamper their quest to effectively contribute to the nation’s development agenda.
He urged the women never to suffer in silence.
The women are better placed to speak about issues that affect them and so it is time they rose to the challenge.
By this challenge, the President is urging women to discard traditional practices that confine them to a position of vulnerability and helplessness resulting in gender inequalities.
The challenge is also an indictment on some men and practices that contribute to the violation of women’s rights.
Women are partners in the development agenda of the nation and they can only contribute effectively if they take a bold step and come out of the cocoon of oppression.
Some of the rights violations women in Zambia still face are in the work place, in the administration of land and abuse at the hands of spouses.
In a number of instances, such violations of women’s rights place them in a position where they cannot make any decision on matters that affect them.
As a result, they tend to lag behind when some of the menfolk are advancing wherever they are found.
The world is dynamic and Zambia needs to conform to global trends that promote the worth of a woman by recognising her rights as contained in some of the international protocols our Government has adopted.
In joining the efforts to promote the rights of women at international level and localising them, Zambia has seen an improvement in the numbers of women who are making a mark in their set-ups.
There are now 31 female members of Parliament and 133 male members of Parliament, representing 18.9 percent and 81.1 percent, respectively.
As for councillors, their numbers have increased to 127 this year from 85 in 2011.
The growth in the numbers of women in Parliament and at local government level, though small, can be said to be a positive indication that some women are slowly coming out in the open.
Mr Lungu has said Government does not want to leave anyone behind, and that includes the women because they are stakeholders in the development agenda of the nation.
And it is only as more women take up this challenge by the President that the nation will see increasing numbers in positions of decision-making.

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