The NGO Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has urged councillors across the country to vote for female mayors and to retain the few female mayors and deputy mayors already in office.
NGOCC chairperson Beatrice Grillo says it is high time that Zambia began to domesticate the provisions of the SADC Gender protocol on 50 – 50 women representation in decision-making.
In a statement, Grillo said Councilors countrywide should seize this opportunity to deepen the virtues of gender equality and equity by voting for more women to take up decision-making positions, as Mayors and deputy mayors.
‘It is sad that 50 years after independence, the participation of women in decision-making has remained very low at all levels. It is totally unacceptable that the numbers of women Parliamentarians has remained very low, just like that of female councilors. Surely, there must be something wrong that less than 90 women are councilors out of an establishment of more than 1, 300 countrywide,’ she said.
She explained that attention has been drawn to the persisting inequality between men and women in decision-making in our country.
‘The Beijing Platform for Action reaffirmed that women’s persistent exclusion from formal politics, in particular, raises a number of specific questions regarding the achievement of effective democratic transformations, in practice.
‘It undermines the concept of democracy, which, by its nature, assumes that the right to vote and to be elected should be equally applied to all citizens, both women and men. The absence of women from political decision-making has an obvious negative impact on the entire process of democratization,’ according to Grillo.
She said Women’s equal participation in decision-making is not only a demand for justice or democracy, but can also be seen as a necessary condition for women’s interests to be taken into account. Without the participation of women at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development, and peace cannot be achieved.
She said there is need therefore for both women and men to participate in the governance processes of the country. We therefore urge the Councilors to vote for female candidates during the forthcoming Mayoral elections.