Government and United Nations to Host High Level Dialogue on Increasing Women’s Participation in Electoral Processes

Virtual dialogue meeting to also address violence against women in elections

LUSAKA, 16th April 2021: The Government of the Republic of Zambia, through the Office of the Vice-President, in partnership with the United Nations in Zambia, will on 21st April 2021 hold a virtual High-Level Dialogue aimed at increasing women’s participation in electoral processes and addressing violence against women during elections. The Dialogue, organised in the lead up to Zambia’s general elections on 12th August 2021, will also tackle other reasons for Zambian women’s underrepresentation in the electoral processes, decision making structures and the broad socio-economic development agenda of the country.

The High-Level Dialogue, is guided by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security which advocates for the inclusion of women in decision making and peace processes. The Dialogue will also reaffirm commitments made at the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65) held in March 2021, during which world leaders agreed that promoting increased women’s representation in government decision-making bodies is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Arising from this effort, women leaders across the world continue to mobilise the global development agenda and inspiring a better future for all.

The event will draw participation from the Zambian Government, the United Nations, parliamentarians, non-state actors including political parties, women leaders from other countries, academia and members of the diplomatic community. The Dialogue will further demonstrate that in Zambia, like many countries globally, women’s participation in governance continues to be limited, yet it remains a top priority and a critical element for achieving gender equality.

Evidence from across the globe has shown that only when women and men have full access to decision-making positions will laws, policies, and budgets reflect the needs of all citizens and support women’s rights and inclusive development as well as sustainable peace and empowerment in homes, communities and nations at large.

In order to underscore the importance of the Dialogue, it is important to note that following the 2016 general elections, Zambia achieved 19 % women representation in Parliament, 6 % more than the previous elections. Although this was a remarkable improvement, the outcome still falls short of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development that calls for at least 50% female representation in decision making positions; and  the regional average of 24% in 2019, as well as the global goals set in the Beijing Platform for Action, especially the provisions on women’s equal access to and full participation in power structures and decision making; the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 which calls on the AU member states to ensure the effective participation of women in decision-making. 

Many societies and institutions still believe that men make natural and better leaders than women, and funding for women’s campaigns and initiatives remain pitifully low. Evidence shows that at the current rate of progress, it will take 130 years to reach gender equality in the highest positions of power. Thus, the High-Level Dialogue will discuss key issues that hinder women’s political participation, violence against women in the political arena and increased number of women in politics. It is expected that a resounding movement of women from all walks of life will be ignited and both men and women will be mobilized for social change towards a more equal political landscape where there is zero tolerance towards violence.

ENDS//

Issued by:

 

Mr. Stephen Mwansa

Permanent Secretary - Administration

Office of the Vice President

LUSAKA

 

 

For more information, contact:

Ms. Kunda Mando

Public Relations Officer

Office of the Vice-President

Republic of Zambia

M: + 260-976663377

E: Kunda.Mando@CABINET.GOV.ZM

 

Mark Maseko

National Information Officer

United Nations Information Centre

Lusaka

M: +260-955767062 E: masekom@un.org

 

Media Contacts
UN entities involved in this initiative
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United Nations Resident Coordinator Office