President Lazarus Chakwera yesterday started his participation in side events at the United Nations General Assembly (Unga) in New York, United States by attending the UN Women Generation Equality Midpoint at the UN headquarters.
State House Press Office said in a statement that the President attended the function, a crucial juncture in the Generation Equality Forum, a multi-stakeholder initiative launched by UN Women which was co-hosted by the governments of Iceland and the United Republic of Tanzania.
Chakwera, who was invited as a leader of the Feminist Movement and Leadership (FML) Action Coalition, touted the enactment of the Gender Equality Act of 2013 in the country as a step towards the prohibition of harmful practices such as child marriages and provision for gender equality in employment and gender mainstreaming.
The statement quotes Chakwera as having said: “This law has been crucial in setting standards and holding duty-bearers accountable, including for me as President, for it requires that either gender should have not less than 40 percent representation in my Cabinet and so we have done that.”
The President further said multi-stakeholder partnerships promote transparency and civic space for engagement to achieve gender equality.
He said: “For instance, partnerships are critical in monitoring progress and identifying potential reversals and stop them in real time, which ensures that gender advocacy is evidence-based and used to counter harmful rhetoric.
“Such methodologies are important as they unify diverse voices and organisations towards a collective vision and narrative for gender equality. In short, this must always be a multi-sectoral Together Everyone Achieves More [Team] effort,” he said.
The statement also quoted UN Women executive director Sima Hahous as having said the world was falling behind on the ambitions to achieve gender equality by 2030 adding that women needed to be part of decision making at all levels.
“Women have been and continue to be on the frontline of most of the crisises,” said Hahous.
“We need to be on the table because the burden of these challenges is on the shoulders of women and children,” she said.
The aim of this forum is to accelerate gender equality by mobilising governments, civil society organisations, private sector entities, and youth advocates to make concrete commitments towards achieving gender equality.
During the event, participants took stock of the progress made so far to chart a course for the future in the five Action Coalitions of the Generation Equality Forum, namely—Gender-Based Violence, Economic Justice and Rights, Bodily Autonomy and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Feminist Action for Climate Justice and Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality.