'Raising a generation of young feminist leaders’
16th September 2011,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
YOUNG WOMEN the Missing Piece in the Forthcoming Elections
Among the 1, 064, 730 new registered young voters, more than 60% are young women between the ages of 18-35 yet, none of the political parties have nominated a single young woman and none of them are talking about addressing the needs of young women.Young women are the hardest hit by any adverse situation experienced by the country including the impact of HIV and AIDS (16% prevalence rate among women aged 15 -49), unemployment and poverty. This situation calls for political commitment towards addressing the unmet needs for young women.
Equal access of men and women to power, decision-making and leadership at all levels is a necessary precondition for the proper functioning of democracy. However, women, especially young women remain an exception to the rule as very few are selected to actively participate in leadership and decision making, and more needs to be done to overcome the major obstacles that inhibit women’s participation and representation in decision making.
Due to the unequal power relations between men and women there is no significant representation of women let alone young women in decision making processes at national level. In the previous National Assembly, women made up only 14 percent, which fell far below 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. Yet, for the upcoming elections only a few women have been adopted as candidates by their parties. Women can certainly do more than wear party chitenges, sing songs and welcome party leaders. Women are capable of leading.
As young women, we strongly urge voters to support women candidates by voting for them in the 20 September Elections. This will help bridge the gap between men and women in leadership positions and thereby increase Zambia’s progress towards meeting the SADC and AU target. We further urge the voters, to ensure that they conduct themselves in a peaceful manner and desist from any form of violence, intimidation and attacks on women candidates and other political party supporters.
We strongly urge political party leaders, that should they win the 2011 elections, they should ensure that they take affirmative action to ensure that women, especially young women, are appointed to take up leadership in the cabinet, and various decision making positions in the various ministries.
As young women, we are in solidarity with women candidates, and therefore, urge them to ensure that they actively participate in leadership and decision making and work towards addressing the various issues affecting women.
phone: +26 0967 374624