Women Empowerment

Program Objective:
Improved livelihoods, economic status and women participation in development.

The program will focus on the following five sub-program areas:

(i) Governance, Leadership & Decision Making
This program will focus on enhancing and increasing women participation in leadership positions and governance structures, how as women leaders they can contribute to effective governance. Governance also supports effective leadership. The program shall also focus on women involvement in decision making at community and national levels.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to take part in the Government of his/her country. The empowerment and autonomy of women and the improvement of women's social, economic and political status is essential for the achievement of both transparent and accountable government and administration and sustainable development in all areas of life.

Women’s confidence and self-esteem increase when they have greater knowledge, economic assets and income-earning capacity, and they are more likely to participate in both private and public decision-making. Low participation is often due to stereotypes, perpetuated by both men and women, which assign women’s influence to the private sphere and men’s to the public.

Article 12 of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development (2008) requires that “States Parties shall endeavour that, by 2015, at least fifty percent of decision-making positions in the public and private sectors are held by women including the use of affirmative action measures as provided for in Article 5.

(ii) Participation in Development
This sub-program will derive appropriate strategies for improving women’s participation in development in development per target area by considering the following theoretical frameworks:

  • - Women in Development (WID)
  • - Women and Development (WAD)
  • - Gender and Development (GAD)

The above shall be enhanced by:

  • - Income Generating projects
  • - Government departments for women (Gender department or ministry)
  • - Empowerment through legislation
  • - Supporting and growing women organisations

Though reasons for women’s lack of participation may differ from in certain aspects from area to area, the following could be true or common:

  • - Social roles of women
  • - Lack of education
  • - Colonialism
  • - No acknowledgement of women’s dual roles in society

Gender and development shall consider three aspects: Equity, Welfare and Education.

Equity: promoting policies that allow the upward mobility of women in the workplace, leadership and governance structures. For employment, this could be through “Employment Equity Act”.

Welfare: Better services for women like free legal advice, better services to basic services, day care centres. This could be made possible partly through social grants and state sponsored institutions.

Education: Make schooling environment more secure and also promote sex education programmes school curriculum. The objective is to balance up the number of female students at primary, secondary and tertiary education by gender to the number of male students in each level.

(iii) Gender Based Violence (GBV)
Violence against women is one of the most widespread of human rights abuses. One out of every three women worldwide will be physically, sexually or otherwise abused during her lifetime. During times of war and conflict, sexual violence is used to terrorize and humiliate women and girls. Survivors often suffer further victimization by family and society.
This program will come up with strategies to fight against GBV.

On lusakatimes.com Gender Links revealed that Zambia has the highest cases of gender based violence (GBV) in southern Africa.

As evidence of gender-based violence (GBV) increases throughout Zambia, the need to address the widespread problem of GBV, with regard to human rights and global health, remains enormous. Data from the most recent Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) indicates that over 50% of women interviewed reported experiencing some form of GBV, while over 15% reporting sexual violence in an intimate partner relationship. The high prevalence of GBV in Zambia makes it both a challenging and critical topic for programming. Studies show that many Zambian women perceive gender-based violence to be both normal and acceptable, adding to the difficulty of social and cultural change1. (1. Human Rights Watch 2002, Suffering in Silence: The Links Between Human Rights Abuses and HIV Transmission to Girls in Zambia).

(iv) Social & Economic Empowerment and Access to Rights

The program will promote access to the following rights:

  • - Information
  • - Food
  • - Education
  • - Health
  • - Water

The social and economic empowerment aspect shall focus on:

  • - Land rights
  • - Entrepreneurship
  • - Business Training skills
  • - Start-up loans
  • - Scholarships and exposure programs

According to International Labour Organisation (ILO) obstacles to women‘s economic empowerment include:

  • - Discriminatory employment policies and recruitment practices
  • - An unequal share of family and household responsibilities
  • - Lack of control over productive resources such as land and property
  • - Women remain a minority voice in leadership positions
  • - Women are segregated into low paid, low status forms of work
One of the interventions is inclusion of gender dimension in all programmes and policies.