Zambia whose population is 10,757,1921 attained its independence on October 24 1964. Since then there has been no explicit National Gender Policy. An effort to increase the role of women in socio economic development was made by the Government in the Fourth National Development Plan in 1989 - 1993, which included a chapter on Women in Development.
Government is aware of the Gender imbalances in social, economic, cultural and political spheres, which have prevented females, who comprise 51% of the population from contributing effectively to and benefiting to the development process. Zambia's constitutional and legal systems in the last 40 years have not addressed women's exploitation, discrimination and marginalisation. The Government's bureaucracy is itself, part of institutionalised gender inequality, under a dual system of law, which Zambia has. Many discriminatory practices are legal under customary law and serve to legitimise negative rules and norms practiced by Government departments. Obstacles to gender equality lie partly within government itself. These internal contradictions underlie the ambiguities found in Government's National Gender Policy (NGP). A good example is, where Zambia has (8) Members of Parliament appointed by the President and none of them as of now is female. This action of not nominating female MPs shows lack of commitment to Gender equality in Decision-making by the appointing authority, who in this case is the President. Zambia has not achieved the 30% minimum representation in decision-making positions stipulated by the 1997 SADC Gender Declaration (as of now the representation of women in Parliament stands at 12.1%).2 Under these circumstances, it is most unlikely that Zambia will ever achieve by 2005 the 30% set by member countries.
Government recognises the importance of Gender and that Gender issues cut across all areas of development and involve multiple institutions and sectors. In the NGP, Government has decided to streamline the institutional framework for Gender mainstreaming, supposedly to ensure speedy and effective implementation, co-ordination, monitoring and evaluation of the NGP. The framework includes the following;
National level - GIDD and Gender Consultative Forum
Sectoral level - Line Ministries - Gender Focal Points
Provincial level - Gender Co-ordinating Points
District level - District Gender Focal Points
Government has through the adoption of the NGP and its SPA committed itself to addressing gender issues and concerns at all levels of National Development. The SPANGP contains policy measures and interventions, activities, expected results and actors for specific sectors to facilitate its effective implementation. Each specific sector has a lead actor or/and actors and a set of Gender interventions that will be implemented.
Most Gender interventions were derived from sector policies and programmes with full participation of staff from these sectors making implementations of Gender interventions in specific sectors full responsibilities of the lead actors
The SPANGP contains policy measures and interventions activities, expected results and actors for specific sectors in order to facilitate its effective implementation. Much as the Government's intentions are good, there is no seriousness attached to the intentions, as most of these pronouncements are just on paper.
The purpose of this position paper is to ensure the inclusion of the Strategic Plan of Action for the National Gender Policy (SPANGP) into the 5th National Development Plan.
The paper identifies the following as the critical areas for considering gender in the 5th National Development Plan;
Use of the quota system as affirmative action to ensure the attainment of the minimum of 30% by 2008.
Strengthening of the legal framework with consideration creating a Gender Commission.
Effective Gender mainstreaming at all levels of development (ensuring that a user friendly gender mainstreaming tool is developed)
Formulation of policy from Cabinet Office directed by specific gender guidelines at all levels if gender mainstreaming is to be achieved effectively.
CSO Living Conditions, 2002-2003