Female leaders best formaternal challenges

All political parties should consider adopting more women in the 2016 elections to improve the country’s basic social needs such as maternal health, Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL) executive director Juliet Kaira Chibuta has advised.

Speaking in Namwala Constituency in Southern Province where she is leading a team that is touring and monitoring projects in female-led constituencies across Zambia, Ms. Chibuta said the current representation of women in Parliament was inadequate to deal with various development issues associated with women.

“You are aware that there are about 51 percent of women in Zambia. But there are only about 14 percent of women in Parliament compared to men.” she observed.

Ms Chibuta emphasized the serious need to increase the number of women in Parliament to more than 20 percent.

“Women have special needs that can easily be met when presented by women themselves. For example maternal issues; women are the ones who go to labour, we are the ones that draw water, and we are the ones that deal with so many social needs. So it means our issues will not be ably represented if we are not there in Parliament,” she said. Ms. Chibuta further said her team had so far impressed with the works and projects monitored in Mulobezi and Namwala constituencies, where female parliamentarians, Patricia Mulasikwanda (PF) and Moono Lubezhi (UPND) respectively were actively involved in improving the basic social needs such as maternal health.

“We have noticed that these parliamentarians are using different initiatives to resolve issues people are facing,” she said.

Ms Chibuta  cited the construction of a clinic in Namwala initiated and facilitated by  Ms Lubezhi after she had witnessed a child die due to lack of access to maternal care, as one of the reasons to have more women in Parliament.

“It only shows that if we have more women, then it means that more issues of maternal health and other social issues such as sanitation will be dealt with,” Ms. Chibuta said.

The ZNWLG are working in collaboration with Zambia Women Parliamentary Caucus on this project of profiling and documenting women-led constituencies to ensure they provided capacity building and above all ensure that more women are retained to Parliament in 2016.