Over 300 Zambian women joined the books of African history, as their witnessed the official launch the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) – Zambia Chapter.
In their strides for gender equality, over 300 Zambian women joined the books of African history, as their witnessed the official launch the African Women Leaders Network (AWLN) – Zambia Chapter, at a momentous occasion held on 30 March 2022 in Lusaka.
The event brought together women from all works of life, including women politicians, civil servants, entrepreneurs, civil society, women living with disabilities, rural women, and young girls with one common agenda of creating a platform that enhances the leadership of women in the transformation of Africa, with a focus on governance and political participation, peace and security, finance and women's entrepreneurship, youth leadership, agriculture, and social mobilization.
Speaking during the launch, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Dr Coumba Mar Gadio underscored the commitment of the UN in Zambia on women empowerment.
“As the UN System in Zambia, we continually strive for action to lift the status of women and girls. The national ownership and commitment of the Zambia AWLN chapter will be crucial towards more concerted and tangible action if we are to see the change we want,” Dr Gadio said.
“The UN system in Zambia pledges and reaffirms its unwavering support to the Government of the Republic Zambia, towards the empowerment of women and girls. We would like to suggest to the Government of the Republic of Zambia to consider ratification of some conventions and treaties aimed at advancing gender equality such as Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security and Convention 190 on harassment and violence in the world of work,” she added.
Giving her keynote and launch speech, Her Honour the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, Mrs. WK Mutale Nalumango called on women to network to share ideas and enhance their leadership opportunities. She said that the government was commitment to ensuring gender equality and the participation of women in leadership.
"The 29th Chapter brings renewed hope and momentum in advocating for enhanced strategic actions for women's leadership roles across all sectors including women at grassroot levels," Mrs Nalumango said.
Other speakers at the hybrid launch included former President of Liberia and Patron of AWLN Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who congratulated Zambia for joining the AWLN movement and efforts to enhance the leadership of women. Others were UN Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Amina Mohammed who noted that AWLN would support progress on Sustainable Development Goal number 5 on gender equality by ending all forms of discrimination, violence and any harmful practices against women and girls in the public and private spheres.
And Zambia’s First Lady of Zambia Mutinta Hichilema noted that Zambia had made significant progress in strengthening women leadership roles across all sectors from politics and peace building to social and private sectors. She reaffirmed her commitment to the empowerment of women.
“As your partner, I reaffirm my commitment to support the implementation of the African Women Leadership Network Zambia chapter, a groundbreaking movement that will enhance the leadership of women and girls towards the Africa and Zambia we want….The future is indeed brighter when women and girls and present at every table where decisions are made,” said Mrs. Hichilema.
The launch also had presentations from the following: UNFPA Deputy Regional Director Beatrice Mutali, Special UN Representative in the Horn of Africa Hanna Tetteh, Deputy Executive Director for UN Women Anita Bhatia, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa Ahunna Eziakonwa, AU Special Envoy on Women Bineta Diop and Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council Board Chairperson Mary Mulenga. Others were Zambian parliamentarians Hon. Princess Kasune MP and Hon. Twambo Mutinta MP, and UN Women Special Representative to the AU and ECA and for the establishment of the national chapters, Awa Ndiaye Seck.
AWLN was launched at the UN Headquarters in New York in June 2017, under the auspices of the African Union Commission and the United Nations through the Office of the AU Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security and UN Women. Five years after it was established, the network comprises over 500 African women across generations and sectors.
The AWLN Zambia Chapter brings new momentum in calling for more visible and strategic action, with deliberate targeting to reach women leaders across all sectors, including women leaders at the grassroots level. Women’s participation and leadership is an essential prerequisite for poverty alleviation and tackling gender inequality.
AWLN is a ground-breaking movement of African women leaders who aim to enhance the leadership of women in the transformation of Africa, in line with Africa Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.