Friday, March 05, 2010

‘Appointments to public or private positions should be on merit’

‘Appointments to public or private positions should be on merit’
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Fri 05 Mar. 2010, 04:00 CAT

ZAMBIA Civic Education Association (ZCEA) executive director Judith Mulenga has said appointments to public or private positions should be based on merit not on ethnicity, family connections or friendship.

Commenting on the International Women’s Day which falls on March 8 under the theme ‘Equal rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for all,’ Mulenga said society should strive to remove inequalities that stopped every Zambian from accessing services such as education, health, shelter, safe clean water and sanitation regardless of their social class, ethnicity, ancestry or physical disabilities.

Mulenga hoped the theme for International Women’s Day would not end up in slogans and marching in smart outfits but should be reflected in all laws, policies and procedures.

“Equal rights and equal opportunities do not manifest themselves through the production of banners, placards and T-shirts and marching in various chitenge outfits but that this important calendar day’s themes will start a process of serious reflection at all levels of society to incorporate elements of this year’s theme not only in policies but also in attitudes and relationships among all,” she said.

Mulenga said discriminations, stereotyping and prejudices that perpetuated inequality in every facet of life needed to be confronted at a personal and institutional level.

Mulenga said institutional cultures should abhor any form of discrimination that hindered progress for all such as sexism, which was the belief that one’s gender was inherently superior or inferior to another, sexual harassment, ageism, which discriminated people because of their age, disability, religion or ethnicity.

“For example, many people will make discriminatory remarks or jokes about individuals based on gender, age, disability, religion or ethnicity because of ignorance, or prejudice and often such remarks and jokes seem harmless but unfortunately even something which seems to be harmless fun can be painful to others and have wide reaching consequences on the self esteem of the victim,” said Mulenga.

And Lucy Muyoyeta urged political parties to adopt more women during elections.

Muyoyeta, who is former Non Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) board chairperson, said it was well-known that women had done a lot in terms of organising themselves both from political parties and other sectors.

She said Zambia had made some progress in some areas as far as women’s rights were concerned.

Muyoyeta said there was some progress in the education sector particularly primary education, which had seen an increase in the enrolment of girls but there was still a struggle at higher levels of education.

She said there was an improvement in the maternal mortality rate.

“We are still struggling with women in decision making. We are nowhere near the 50 per cent AU declaration of women in decision making and the 30 per cent SADC declaration of women in decision making. We are still struggling with old issues, gender-based violence still remains a big problem,” said Muyoyeta.

“We are still struggling with new issues like human trafficking which is little talked about yet we know it is a growing issues, it affects girls and women. Issues related to climate change yet they have an impact on the women.”

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