Let’s put chauvinism aside, and talk about female representation! We cannot afford to be gender blind, as this is compromising global development. Everywhere, the role of women is being recognised in society and spaces of power! Their social, economic and political empowerment benefits the whole world. Besides, gender equality is an indivisible right and it’s clear in the global commitments to achieve gender equality by 2030.
In practice, you are still holding on to the full cake, leaving crumbs for women aspiring to get into leadership positions. Look at Africa for example: she has recorded only seven female presidents elected or interim in her entire history! It is the same in the private sector as evidenced by a survey done in 2015, which revealed that there are only 23 female CEOs of Standard and Poor’s 500 companies- not even five percent! Likewise, just 23 Fortune 500 companies at the time were led by women.
Despite this, young girls and women have continued to rise above these inequalities.The numbers are soaring, but the tide isn’t! Everywhere young girls and women are rising, using their voices and taking control… like the bosses that we are! Look at how Malala took a bullet for education in Pakistan, Eva got clean water for her community in Tanzania and Natalie stood against female genital mutilation in Kenya.
You got into the room and locked yourselves in. I have news for you, we found the keys and are coming in our numbers to unlock the door. We constitute half of the world’s population, and without us, the Global Goals will fail. We cannot leave it to you to define our future, because if you do not include us in decision making we will bear the brunt of the decisions you are making on our behalf.
Primrose Manyalo, Youth Power Global Coordinator, in Zimbabwe
Dear Youth Power partners,
I wrote this letter to update you on the happenings concerning my gender activities here in Zambia. Well of late I have been engaged in various campaigns and radio and TV programmes concerning gender issues.
Firstly, since 2016 I have been part of the I Care About Her campaign, which is a call for men to take action to stop violence against women. I also took part in the campaign on ending violence against women and girls in higher learning institutions. All these campaigns have been very exciting because both men and women have been talking freely about gender issues.
Of late a lot of things have changed and we now have a lot of women serving in high positions. For example, we have the University of Zambia deputy vice chancellor Professor Enala Mwase, the managing director of Barclays Bank Mizinga Melu, our vice president Honourable Inonge Wina, and president of the Law Association of Zambia, Linda Kasonde.
Another amazing fact is that a lot of women are now interested in competing for political positions with men. At this moment let me also say that I was able to contest for presidency at The University of Zambia Sociological Association (UNZASA) and I successfully scooped the position. So I can say things are getting better day-by-day and I can see things reaching a fairer ground.
At this stage without any regret and fear I would sincerely tell my younger self to go for what she wants. The world might seem rough on a girl child but that shouldn’t stop her from speaking out and acting on issues that affect her. There is no difference between a man and woman, so there is no point of the other gender being treated differently. Let her walk with her head high and she will succeed. I definitely believe that Youth Power and other partnerships can improve gender equality if they carry sensitization programs and engage both men and women so that they understand the importance of gender issues.