SIMON MUNTEMBA writes
GOVERNMENT’S efforts in ensuring gender equality and empowerment of women and girls throughout Zambia is commendable, says Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) executive director Bernadette Zulu. Ms Zulu said it was pleasing to note that there had been progress towards women’s and girls’ access to social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure, particularly in the areas of health and education. She told the Sun that was evident from the global increase in social protection coverage, more girls attending school as well as access to affordable and quality essential health-care services. Ms Zulu particularly commended the Zambian government for its efforts in ensuring gender equality and the empowerment of women by deliberately putting in place a policy that entitled them to be allocated 40 percent of all advertised state land. “PMRC would like to commend Government for its efforts in ensuring gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls throughout the country, “PMRC would also like to urge Government to adopt its recommendations on increasing budget allocation towards the health and education sectors which are below international standards of 15 and 20 percent respectively,” Ms Zulu said. She also urged the private sector to supplement Government’s efforts by promoting gender equality and empowerment of women and girls through empowerment programmes. Meanwhile, Ms Zulu said that on the March 17, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and one of the main UN organs, released a draft of agreed resolutions aimed at addressing the various gender disparities that women faced globally. She said the Commission however, recognized significant challenges which included gender gaps averaging 32percent which remained to be closed according to the 2018 Global Gender Gap Report. The Commission stressed the importance of addressing these remaining gaps, as well as inequalities, structural barriers and biases that constrain equal access to social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure.
On the health sector, Ms Zulu said the commission also reiterated the need for member states to promote universal health coverage services and ensured affordable quality service delivery.