District Education Board Secretary
Deans of Students Present
Student Leaders Present
Civil Society Organisations Present
Members of the Press
May I simply say Ladies and Gentlemen, all Protocols observed
It is my honor and privilege to welcome you distinguished guests to this sensitisation meeting with female students on female participation in the Leadership. Your presence in this meeting shows the importance you attach to issues of equal participation in leadership positions by both female and male students in higher learning institutions.
For those of you who may not be aware, ZANEC is a Coalition of non-state actors working in the Education and Skills Sector. The organisation is involved in research, advocacy and member capacity building on different aspects of the Education and Skills Sector in Zambia. ZANEC members comprise of Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Faith Based Organizations (FBO’s), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Teacher Trade Unions and Student Unions. The membership of ZANEC currently stands at 89 Member Organisations spread across the country.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Through ZANEC continued advocacy on academic freedom in higher learning institutions, it has come to our attention that very few female students participate in union leadership. At national level the low representation of the female gender can be seen from the last general elections that Zambia had on 12th August 2021, were only 15% of women Parliamentarians were elected. Similarly, only 4 females aspired to stand for elections during the ZANASU election held in July 2021, out of which 2 were elected as Deputy Secretary General and Gender Secretary, meaning the entire ZANASU Congress and Executive put together has only two females out of 13 positions, representing 15%. It is important to note that Zambia is part of the SADC Gender Protocol that indicates that there should be 50/50 representation of men and women in decision making positions. Sadly, for Zambia this is not the case. After 57 years of independence the country only has 15% of women as Members of Parliament.
The major cause of low representation of women in Zambia is the patriarchal views on traditional gender roles are still a reality and restrict women’s participation leadership positions. The societal conventions regarding gender and leadership traditionally exclude women, and top leadership is viewed as a masculine domain. For example, common saying “behind every successful man is a woman”, depict the roles and positions that have been assigned to both gender parties and these should not be entertained if Zambia is to attain gender equality and equity in decision making positions. The other factor to low participation of women has been low education and literacy levels among women compared to men.
It is in this vein that ZANEC has continued to support Female Student Network in Zambia whose aim is to inspire female leaders on the importance of holding leadership positions and female student empowerment in student structures.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The aim of this meeting is to encourage female students to take up leadership positions. Furthermore, to create appreciation by female students on the importance of representing their own interests through unionism. And to provide leadership mentorship and seeking solutions to challenges inhibiting the effective participation of females in unionism. The expected outcomes are:
- Strengthen the female network and its coordination in Southern Province as well as other parts of the country.
- Motivating the female students to take up leadership positions in their various institutions of higher learning.
- Identify measures to strengthen female participation in student unionism.
This meeting will be characterized by presentations on female participation in Leadership and the tactics to acquire leadership positions. And another presentation on Female Network and its purpose. ZANEC is pleased because we are expected to come up with action points that we are encouraged to share in our higher learning institutions that we are representing and act upon them to foster female participation.
Ladies and Gentlemen
ZANEC is grateful to the Norwegian Student and Academic International Assistance (SAIH) for the financial support which has made it possible to hold this sensitisation meeting today. We further thank them for many other funding supports that they have given the Coalition to promote education through research and advocacy particularly in higher learning institutions in Zambia.
With these few remarks, I therefore, urge all of us that are present in this meeting to participate actively as your contributions will make a big difference in enhancing women’s participation in leadership positions.
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