Zambia needs to remove structural barriers that leave women and girls behind

Zambia women.jpgThere is need for Zambia to embrace innovative approaches in order to remove structural barriers that leave women and girls behind, the Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council chairperson Mary Mulenga.

Speaking during the Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council Open Day at Zambia Alliance of Women in Lusaka, Ms Mulenga said women and girls should be supported by all.

“There is need for Zambia to embrace innovative approaches so that we remove structural barriers so that no woman, no girl is left behind. Innovation and technology provides unprecedented opportunities yet trends indicate that a growing gender divide still exists and I am sure you will agree with me that women remain under represented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” Ms Mulenga said.

“This is evident even from the statistics. We have seen our girls lagging behind even when grade 7, 9 and 12 results come out. Because of this we see that our women and girls are prevented from developing and influencing gender responsive innovations to achieve transformative gains for society.

It is vital that women’s ideas and experiences equally influence the design and implementation of the innovation that shape the future of our country.”
Ms Mulenga said this year’s International Women’s Day theme ‘Think equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change’ was challenging women to think and be more innovating in the fight towards gender equality.

“Even as we commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day under the theme ‘Think equal, Build smart, Innovate for Change,’ our members who are here today will be able to tell us and the media how they are interpreting this year’s theme. For us as NGOCC, this year’s theme would not have been more appropriate because I think we need to be more focused on finding innovative ways in which to advance gender equality and empowerment of women particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure,” Ms. Mulenga said.

“We know that International Women’s Day provides us with an opportunity to appreciate some of the remarkable contributions that we have made as women in society. It is also an opportunity to reflect. As we are commemorating on it, we are also reflecting on the challenges and the struggles we go through as women and the men that support us also on a day to day basis. Above all, it is an opportunity to remind ourselves that again we are here this year to speak to our leaders so that we do introspection. We need to know how we are doing for the women of Zambia.”

Ms. Mulenga said there was need for Zambians to work hard and ensure that women fully participate and benefit from cultural, economic and political development processes.
She said it was pleasing to note that there were women out there who were breaking the barriers and doing male work.