Minister of Finance, Hon Margaret Mwanakatwe has committed to supporting women empowerment in her role as Minister. Mwanakatwe shared her commitment at an interface meeting with Women Empowered for Leadership partners in Zambia on the 26th of March 2017. The meeting held as a breakfast meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia, was attended by business representatives, civil society and strategic partners.
The meeting was held as an opportunity for civil society to officially meet the new finance minister, share the work being done on the ground by both government and civil society and look for areas of collaboration and gaps that may need further advocacy. Hon Mwanakatwe comes in as the second female to hold the ministerial position in the Ministry of Finance, her position comes as an opportunity for the WE4L program to further its objectives that includes women participating fully and effectively in politics and public administration at sub-national level, which can be influenced by increased economic independence of women. Zambia has seen increased cost of living leading to increased poverty which bears the face of women and it is from this state that women fall away from meaningful participation in their community.
During the meeting the minister assured civil society members that she was aware of the extent of the work she had to do for Zambian women to have an opportunity to participate equally with their male counterparts, however she encouraged women to strive to reach higher posts despite their gender but through hard work and achievements. She questioned calls for quota systems saying;
“I feel quota systems could easily go the wrong way, women should not be given positions simply because they are women otherwise we may end up with the wrong people for the job. However where women are equally or more qualified let us give them the chance. I feel the Zambian Government has been able to do that well.”
As part of her presentation Hon Mwanakatwe reaffirmed the governments intention to ensure;
- the government’s commitment to the attainment of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development;
- development of a gender monitoring and evaluation system;
- all institutions have a policy against sexual harassment as a hindrance to women’s participation in leadership;
- the provision of mentorship to aspiring young women leaders, especially those in tertiary institutions;
- budget allocation for the economic empowerment of women under the Ministry of Gender and Ministry of Community Development;
- budget allocation to the operationalization of the Gender Equity and Equality Act;
Hivos and its partners under the WE4L program intend to followup on the Minister’s commitments as well as advocate for full implementation of issues outstanding in her ministry.
Please read the Communique….