By ZamChro Correspondent,
Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the International Women’s Day on Sunday with the government saying it has made progress in coming with a law aimed at curbing gender-based violence.
Zambian President Rupiah Banda told hundreds of people who turned up at the Mulungushi International Conference in the capital for the commemoration that government will soon present to parliament a bill so that it is enacted into a law aimed at curbing gender-based violence.
“We have made considerable progress in this area as we have reached an advanced stage in the preparation of specific legislation on gender-based violence.
“It is my expectation that all stakeholders will support this bill to ensure that the scourge of violence against women and girls is eradicated,” he added.
This year’s global theme is “Women and men united to end violence against women and girls.” However, Zambia’s theme is “The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including care giving, the context of HIV and AIDS in Zambia.”
The Zambian leader said the theme is important for the country because evidence clearly indicates that women and girls have continued to unproportionately bear the burden of care associated with child and health care at the expense of their own development.
“It is this discrimination that we need to address if we are to achieve the vision of our national gender policy of attaining the full participation of both women and men in the development process at all levels,” he said.
He added that social structures in the country have perpetrated the unequal burden of care responsibilities between women and men, with women taking the bigger burden.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Representative to Zambia Macleod Nyirongo said at the same occasion that it is crucial to recognize and appreciate the care and role of women and come up with interventions that reduce the burden women suffer.
He said the UNDP, in collaboration with the Norwegian government, intends to undertake a study in Zambia to assess and measure the unpaid contribution of women to the Zambian economy.
The UNDP representative there is need to have in place economic and social policies that support women’s empowerment as well as programs and budgets that promote nonviolence.
“We need a positive image of women in the media. We need laws that say violence is a crime, that hold perpetrators accountable and are enforced,” he added.
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