Editor's Comment

Yes, girl-child should be protected

FOR decades, the girl-child was considered an asset and was valuated either in monetary or cattle terms, particularly in Africa.
As a result, society hardly had any plans for the girl-child apart from restricting her role to the kitchen, thus stereotyping her roles. Because parents and guardians were impatient to reap from the benefits of having a girl-child, she was married off early, unfairly so.
However, with time, it has been realised that those deep-rooted gender inequalities and stereotypes are harmful practices and customs and should be debunked.
They are also discriminatory because the girl-child is discriminated against because she cannot pursue her dreams, which amounts to perpetuation of human rights violations.
Child marriage has spawned poverty because the girl-child is married off with little or no education and skills.
For the first time in history, the United Nations raised the red flag against child marriage, and on December 19, 2016, the General Assembly adopted a second resolution on child, early and forced marriage at its 71st session.
The resolution was co-sponsored by Canada and Zambia, with sponsorship from more than 100 member states.
UN resolutions are important for several reasons. They help build international political will to end child marriage and acknowledge its harmful impact. They also provide accountability to governments and help direct funding towards ending child marriage.
That Zambia co-sponsored the second resolution on child, early and forced marriage at its 71st session shows that the world has acknowledged the strides the country is making to not only protect the girl-child but afford her education.
And President Lungu has re-affirmed his desire to protect the girl-child because that is the only way success for the country will be guaranteed.
President Lungu has said his administration has prioritised the protection and education of the girl-child.
“A girl-child is not a commodity. If it means sending some of you [men] to jail, we will gladly do so,” President Lungu said in Mansa.
Speaking on Friday night during a fundraising dinner organised by the Rotary Club of Mansa for the construction of a borehole and ablution block for Mabumba Secondary School, President Lungu called for change of attitude towards the girl-child.
This was not the first time President Lungu was coming to the defence of the girl-child.
The head of State is the promoter of the ‘HeForShe’ campaign in Zambia.
The ‘HeForShe’ campaign is a UN women’s movement for gender equality which President Lungu has commenced rolling out following his appointment in 2015 as promoter by the United Nations during a summit in South Africa.
The head of State launched the campaign at Chief Nyamphande’s palace in Petauke district in Eastern Province in 2015 with a call on all Zambians to embrace the programme in order to end gender inequalities in the country.
The UN appointed President Lungu as promoter for the campaign in recognition of his contribution and commitment to women empowerment.
We therefore call upon all well-meaning Zambians to join hands with the President to be agents of change in order to achieve gender equality and women’s rights.
All citizens should show leadership by bringing to the fore the importance of gender equality as a means of achieving sustainable development.

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