Vice President Inonge Wina has challenged women Parliamentarians to put aside their political affiliations and work together to be the voice of the voiceless on national issues.
Mrs Wina says female legislators are better placed to advance the gender agenda and women’s contribution to national development.
The Vice President reiterates that Zambians expect women leaders to speak and act on behalf of the voiceless in society.
ZANIS reports that the Vice President said this today, when she opened a two day Zambia Women Parliamentarian Caucus (ZWPC) elective annual general meeting in Chongwe District.
“As mothers in your own right, you are better placed to know the needs of women, girls, and children” said Mrs Wina.
The ZWPC draws its membership from the country’s 29 women Parliamentarians inclusive of Mrs Wina and I st Deputy Speaker Catherine Namugala.
Mrs Wina said women Parliamentarians must take advantage of the various platforms to advance gender equality and that they should use the caucus to fight early child marriages in various communities of the country.
She regretted that women have not used their privileges to have their voices heard in order to change traditional customs, perceptions and laws that hinder the involvement of women in national development.
The Vice President urged women to do more to be torch bearers and ensure that inhibitive legislation is repealed and replaced with progressive laws that will help women attain their goals.
Mrs Wina said it was not right for women parliamentarians to watch their Male fork take the lead in moving a motion requesting government to provide sanitary pads for girls in school.
She urged women lawmakers to rise to the occasion and push for quality debates as they galvanise support and partnership in gender equality and development.
Mrs Wina commended UPND Parliamentarian Cornelius Mweetwa for defending and advancing women issues in parliament.
She challenged women Parliamentarians to help address the escalating numbers of street kids around the town and ensure that the children’s bill comes to fruition.
The Vice President directed the Ministry of Gender to ensure that it uses the National Gender Status Report to Increase the participation of qualified and experienced women to take up board management positions in both private and parastatal organisations.
She donated K5, 000.00 to the ZWPC to kick start resource mobilisation for the Caucus to support women aspiring for legislative leadership.
And Chairperson of the ZWPC Nkandu Luo said there is need to strategise in order to grow women representation in the country in line with the SADC protocol of 50/50 representation.
Prof Nkandu said the Caucus needs to ensure that it doesn’t lose members in the 2021 general elections.
Prof Nkandu who is also Minister of Livestock and Fisheries said the Caucus needs to mobilize resources to support women Parliamentary candidates.
She pointed out that women Parliamentarians also need to address reproductive health services in order to curb early marriages.
And 1 st Deputy Speaker Catherine Namugala counselled women Parliamentarians against pulling each other down but instead strive to support one another.
Ms Namugala pointed out the women Parliamentarians to be visible in the communities and ensure they make a difference in people’s lives.
She urged the female legislators to build networks and disclosed that the Uganda Speaker Rebecca Kadaga wants to work with Zambian women Parliamentarians to help strengthen their role.
Ms Namugala said the Ugandan Speaker has since invited the Zambian women Parliamentarians to visit Uganda and learn best practices from that country’s female legislators.
In a vote of thanks Namwala United party for National Development (UPND) Member of Parliament Moono Lubezhi praised the Vice President for being an inspiring figure and pledged to galvanise support and unity among all female legislators in order to work together and contribute to national development.
The Vice President was accompanied to the ZWPC by her Senior Private Secretary Monde Gwaba and Permanent Secretary for administration in the office of the Vice President.