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Raising both the Ceiling and the Floor – Mwandi

In Mwandi District of those holding senior positions of responsibility, only the District Commissioner, the District Education Secretary, the Deputy Commander of the local Police and the Hospital Administrator are women. The Barotse Royal Establishment’s Mwandi Kuta has three women Manduna amongst the 16 members.

In the recently published Mwandi Chiefdom Strategic Development Plan the following gender considerations were raised:

Do girls get equal schooling opportunities?

Do women have equal access to microfinance, agricultural in-puts, marketing and value-addition opportunities?

How can women be more meaningfully involved in political discourse so their needs and issues are taken into account?

How can female-headed households be made more food-secure, educate their children and remain economically stable?

Regarding schooling opportunities, I have taken these ‘snapshot’ statistics from local schools and suspect that similar figures would be found at any other similar schools anywhere in Zambia.


MALE            19         83%
FEMALE        4          17%
TOTAL         23



MALE           9           26%
FEMALE     25          74%
TOTAL        34


Interestingly while Secondary staffing is overwhelmingly male, in Primary it is female.


  BOYS       229           61%
 GIRLS       144           39%
TOTAL       373


BOYS 707 49%
GIRLS 728 51%
TOTAL 1435

This looks promising as parity between boys and girls is reached. This seems to suggest that strategies against early marriage and school-girl pregnancies at this level seem to be working. This is despite the high poverty levels which have in the past led to high drop-out rates here


G7 50%  50%
G8 51%  49%
G9 45%  55%
G10 60%  40%
G11 73%  27%
G12 75%  25%


The Grade 7 figures pretty much reflect the ratio of boy to girl births, but there is significant girl-child attrition in Senior Secondary especially between Grades 9 and 10 and G10 and G11 From parity in G7 the number of girls in education is halved by Grade 12. This is an obvious area for research and attention.

Related to this and other gender concerns, World Renew is undertaking a gender analysis through its Southern Africa Ministry Team to assess gender dynamics and relations in households across Zambia Malawi Mozambique and in the  communities and local organisations with which they work.  Its purpose to ensure that any development programme takes account of gender and other socio-economic factors so that all  members of the community participate and benefit equally. The Church recognises that gender equality and women’s empowerment are necessary components for the success of any development programme concerned with Church, Community, Livelihood, Food-Security, Education or Health.

If we raise our eyes higher an interesting table was published in an insert called Gender Focus of December 2015, distributed recently by The Post newspaper. It was from a Gender Audit carried out in Zambia and published in July last year. It dealt with women in Decision-Making Positions in Government. This was the Cabinet


No            %


No             %


Position Holders

President 0                0 1             100 1
Vice-President 0                0 1             100 1

Cabinet Ministers


4               20


16             80



Deputy Cabinet Ministers 5                13 22              87 38


7                17 35              83 42
Provincial Ministers 1               10 9                90 10
Directors Line Ministries 23             23 77              77 100
Deputy Directors 13             18 58              82 71



11              31 24              69 35

The political parties have all paid lip-service to increasing the number of women they will field to contest Constituency and Local Council seats in this year’s tripartite elections. President Edgar Lungu has said that he wanted to see at least 40 per cent of party positions held by women, arising from the Party Elections ahead of the August 11 National Elections.
This was during the swearing-in ceremony of six male officials, deployed to various wings of Government.
This is not something peculiar to Zambia, a few countries such as Canada and Scotland

have achieved gender parity in their Cabinets. In the Canadian Cabinet of 31 there are 16 men and 15 women and in the Scottish Cabinet of 10, 5 are men and 5 women. The European Country with the highest number of women in the cabinet is Sweden with 56.5%. Greece is the lowest with a cabinet that is only 5.3% female. Another poor performer is the British Government at 7th from the bottom with 12.5% of the UK Cabinet being female.

Work still needs to be done everywhere to bring greater gender balance to Cabinet Committees and public and private boards so that the gender imbalance is addressed at least in public life.

Article by Keith Ida – Mwandi.

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