LUSAKA, Zambia, March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- His Excellency, President Rupiah Banda of Zambia, has spoken ahead of tomorrow's International Women's Day with a special pledge to continue his efforts to bring equality to all the people of Zambia.
The annual celebration on 8 March celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future, and has been running for more than 100 years.
Zambia is right to be proud of the progress it has made in bringing gender equality to the country. Last month saw the government's launch of a special Gender Responsive Budget Programme in conjunction with the United Nations Development Fund for Women, which has hailed Zambia for strides it has made in adopting policies that enhance gender equality. The programme, which is being piloted in the agriculture and health sectors, will ensure equality in the budgetary process through measures such as tracking budget decisions from a gender perspective and having gender-aware appraisals of each policy.
President Banda is determined to ensure women benefit from Zambia's great economic strides, which have seen growth of nearly 7% and a steady rise in employment. This year's budget included k5 billion allocated to policies regarding equality, with provisions for women to be offered entrepreneurship training to help them better manage their income generation; so far almost 4000 women have benefited.
President Banda has also introduced a development policy to grant women greater access to acquiring land for residential and commercial purposes, by allocating 30% of all available land to women.
Many of President Banda's healthcare initiatives have been delivered with women in mind. The number of HIV infected pregnant women who received anti retroviral drugs under the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission policy increased from 26,000 in 2006, to 47,000 in 2009. Zambia remains committed to attaining the Millennium Development Goals on health by 2015 and has recently launched the 'Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa'.
President Banda said: "On this special day we must remember the great achievements of Zambia's women, throughout the ages, in getting our country to where it is today. We must thank our mothers, wives and daughters for all that they do in helping Zambia to earn a better place in the world. We will achieve this together, by building on the foundations we have laid down for security, stability and prosperity for all Zambians.
He concluded: "I am committed to building a future where everybody, regardless of gender, age or allegiance, enjoys a good education, access to good healthcare and benefits from a prosperous economy."
SOURCE State House Lusaka, Republic of Zambia