NANCY MWAPE, Johannesburg
THE African Union (AU) has awarded Zambia for recognising women in various economic spheres and empowering them.
And the United Nations (UN) women have appointed President Lungu as the promoter for the â€œHeForSheâ€ campaign, which advocates gender equality and targeted at men that are gender-sensitive.
Zambiaâ€™s Ambassador to Ethiopia and permanent representative to the AU, Susan Sikaneta, received the award on behalf of the country from AU Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, which was later passed on to the President.
Receiving the award yesterday, Mr Lungu promised to work extra hard to uplift the lives of women.
â€œThis is the decade for women. Women should be assisted to gain their self-esteem and elevate them to positions that enable them bring out the best of their ability. Women play an important role in developing families and the economy,â€ President Lungu said.
Mr Lungu has appointed many women to key decision-making positions, including that of Inonge Wina as Vice-Presdent.
During his meeting with the UN Women Movement for Gender Equality led by executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on the sidelines of the just-ended AU summit, he said Government will work to revive womenâ€™s participation in mining as part of its programme to empower Zambian women.
He said women have shown potential in mining entrepreneurship in the past and it is vital to ensure this is exploited to enable them contribute to Zambiaâ€™s economic development.
He said in pursuing womenâ€™s empowerment, Zambia has made strides in various aspects of governance to ensure that women get the required support in enterprise.
â€œThough women had shown great capacity in mining in the past, this is currently not the case as most of them failed to sustain their activities due to lack of support and funding,â€ he observed.
Mr Lungu is determined to do everything possible to warrant womenâ€™s prosperity in homes and the nation at large.
â€œAt household level, families should support the girl-child and make her realise her potential in all endeavours without ascribing roles that limit her achievements.
â€œWomen themselves should also be in the forefront to support each other and celebrate each otherâ€™s success,â€ he said.
He said it is important to recognise the bigger role played by mothers, who are the foundation of families.
â€œWithout a strong mother, I would not be what I am. A strong woman is the foundation of the family,â€ he said.
Mr Lungu said though Zambia is making strides in womenâ€™s empowerment, there are still areas in which organs such as the UN can still help women to improve.
And Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka commended Zambia and President Lunguâ€™s determination in ending child marriages in the country.
She said this makes President Lungu an ideal candidate for the HeForShe campaign.
Dr Mlambo-Ngcuka said the UN body also emphasises support to women in the extractive industry so that they can achieve economic independence and contribute to national growth.
â€œWe are looking at supporting women at every level of extractive industry. Botswana has used the proceeds from the extractive industry to invest in the social sector and boost the well-being of women like maternal health,â€ she said.
NANCY MWAPE, Johannesburg