Like in many Southern African countries, women in Zambia are still underrepresented in government and nongovernmental organizations – and particularly in leadership positions.
Women make up just 14 percent of Zambia’s Parliament, which falls far short of the original target goal of 30 percent set by the Southern Africa Development Community, SADC, states and the current goal of 50 percent set by the SADC and the African Union.
The underrepresentation of women in decision-making in Zambia is what united a dozen young Zambian women from various backgrounds and nongovernmental organizations – including myself – to form a feminist movement called Generation Alive. The movement encourages young Zambian women to attain leadership roles in politics and civil society.
Wala Nalungwe, a Generation Alive member, described the movement as an initiative that unites young women from various educational, social and economic backgrounds and draws on their strengths to bridge the gaps in leadership.
“We are committed towards creating a balance in power dynamics between men and women and between young women and older women,” Nalungwe says.
The movement aims to train and coach at least 10 young Zambian women in leadership by 2016 and get them to vie for office in the 2016 Parliamentary elections.
Nalungwe says that Generation Alive wants to achieve a significant membership base of young female leaders from all spheres of society that have the capacity to influence policy formulation, program design and implementation in Zambia.
Another Generation Alive member, Nana Zulu, described the movement as “a collective effort empowering young women to articulate issues affecting them.”
“Generation Alive is here to create an environment where emerging young female leaders in Zambia can interact and share experiences with older women leaders so as to bridge the generational gap in women’s leadership,” Zulu says.
Generation Alive was formed after several leadership and political facilitation trainings conducted in Zambia by the Southern Africa chapter of Just Associates, JASS, a global community of justice advocates. After the trainings, the group identified the need to increase young women’s participation in decision-making and formed Generation Alive. Although JASS Southern Africa guides and assists the movement, the group says that its biggest challenge is inadequate resources.
Generation Alive is currently researching the proportion of young Zambian women who are in leadership positions or have decision-making roles. The group members say they hope to channel their collective power to transform the lives of young Zambian women.