The Non Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has begun a five-days Gender Awareness Training for the Zambia Labour Movement under the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), comprising personnel from Zambia National Union of Teachers (ZNUT), Basic Education Teachers Union of Zambia (BETUZ), Professional Teachers Union of Zambia (PROTUZ), Health Workers Union of Zambia (HWUZ), University of Zambia and Allied Workers Union (UNZAAWU), Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ), Zambia Union of Nurses Organizations (ZUNO), National Union of Commercial & Industrial Women (NUCIW), Bankers Union of Zambia (BUZ), Railway Workers Union of Zambia (RWUZ), Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ), National Union of Communication Workers (NUCW) and Zambia National Union of Health and Allied Workers (ZNUHAW)
With support from Hivos, under the Women Empowered for Leadership Programme, NGOCC aims at raising gender awareness among the unionists in Zambia with emphasis on gender mainstreaming, human rights, gender based violence and the development of gender policy frameworks for respective unions. The training runs from 26th to 30th June 2017.
In the opening remarks to mark the beginning of the training, (ZCTU) Secretary General Mr Cosmas Mukuka commended the civil society’s efforts towards arming the citizenry with the necessary gender knowledge and reaffirmed the union’s commitment towards gender awareness matters due to importance attached to it.
“Allow me to extend our appreciation to the NGOCC for this much needed training. We need such collaboration with civil society and a strong women’s movement in this country. We would like to assure you that this support will be put to good use and greatly valued. Let me state that gender equality matters and gender mainstreaming is no longer an option; it is imperative.”
Mr Mukuka further underscored the growing recognition of gender equality in sustainable development through gender mainstreaming as a key strategy for the empowerment of women.
“Over the years we have seen increasing recognition that gender equality is central to sustainable development. Gender mainstreaming therefore remains the primary strategy for achieving substantive gender equality and empowerment of women.”
Furthermore, he stated that “Gender equality is not a gift to women.” Rather, “It is an engine driving social development and genuine change in society and people’s lives. Gender equality is a prerequisite for sustainable economic development, as well as development of the labour market and the world at work.”
The ZCTU strongman noted the Congress’ concerns at how most women were still disadvantaged due to lack of equal opportunities and called for for a change in the status quo due to the invaluable role women play in all sectors.
“Congress notes with concern that gender differences in participation and un-employment rates are a persistent feature in the labour markets in spite of the advances in educational levels of women. Women suffer multiple disadvantages in access to labour markets and in some cases do not have the same opportunities as men. In addition, traditional social roles burden women with undue share of caring responsibilities and domestic or family work.”
“Organisations need to change the status quo and improve opportunities and prospects for women to also occupy decision making positions. It is therefor, against this backdrop that the Congress has embarked on ta top-down reorganization process and moved away from the traditional methods of empowering women by starting to analyze the circumstances and challenges that women face in order to develop the appropriate solutions that will enhance greater equity between women and men and greatly influence the political buy-in from all ZCTU affiliates” he said.