Abigail Chaponda from the Zambia High Commission reports on the mission’s International Women’s Day celebrations, in which they were joined Zambia’s first woman Vice President, Mrs Inonge Wina
ZAMBIA’S VICE PRESIDENT Her Honour Mrs Inonge Mutukwa Wina called on all women globally to create a formidable force by continuously uplifting and nurturing each other as well as providing mentorship for young girls. Zambia’s first woman Vice President was the keynote speaker at the virtual International Women’s Day celebration organised by the Zambia High Commission and Zambian women in London.
The Vice President underscored the importance of involving women in all activities in society, including bringing women to the table where decisions that affect men, women, boys and girls are made.
International Women’s Day was commemorated to reflect on the achievements of women towards attaining gender equality and equity. This year’s event was celebrated under the theme, “Women in Leadership – achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”
“8 March is such a day when we join women worldwide to remind ourselves to raise our hands and challenge the status quo because the voice of the woman has been crying for far too long. While it is our battle to fight, we need corresponding responses from men to voice out their stance in support of curtailing gender-based violence, early and
child marriages, and all other forms of discrimination against women and girls, against the reality that attaining gender equality in decision making and other areas of influence still remain a battle in both developed and developing countries. Let me state that we should not be discouraged nor give up on the goal of attaining gender equality. I am a firm believer that time is our greatest asset but if we are complacent, time can be our greatest enemy too,” she said.
The Vice President further commented that “We are celebrating this day in the midst of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted our lives. I want to commend Zambian women and women worldwide for being resilient against all odds during this difficult time, while playing a leading role in ensuring that families have the necessities of life including good environments. I am also aware that we have female nurses, doctors and care givers that have relentlessly helped patients in hospitals and the elderly in care homes.”
Mrs Wina noted that she is proud that women are contributing more positively in policy making, governance, sciences, the medical field, arts and crafts, and indeed in politics. “Let us not relent! I challenge women to collectively create investment vehicles that will allow you to own assets in companies and ventures in Zambia and elsewhere, as well as providing the skills needed now that working from home is a reality without leaving your country of residence.”
The Vice President said it is vital to encourage and support each other as women, no matter where we are in the world. Mrs Wina was delighted to state that, Zambians can count on His Excellency, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, for his overwhelming support towards attaining gender equality in Zambian society, by placing more women in leadership roles and through various empowerment programmes in the country. She added that President Lungu is further rendering political will and commitment at the African Union and United Nations where he is playing pivotal roles.
“One thing we can take as an opportunity in the COVID-19 pandemic period is the heavy influence technology has in all our lives. Embracing science and technology in all its forms is cardinal as the world ahead will be dictated by those who have mastered technological skills in one form or the other, thus enabling us to collaborate and work to the best of our abilities.”
She challenged Zambian women abroad to serve as “Zambia investment ambassadors in the diaspora” so that their market and sphere of influence can grow, thanks to technology that has increased online marketing and business development opportunities.
She urged women in the diaspora to live exemplary lives as Zambia’s first line ambassadors: “We can only achieve a lot if we work together and support each other fully.”