Women need support
WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP: ACHIEVING AN EQUAL FUTURE IN A COVID-19 WORLD.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a great impact on the world in the past two years. According to the report by the United Nation on women and the COVID-19 response, women have been hit more by the pandemic than men and the weakening social protections has contributed to the burden that women have to carry during this pandemic.
Many women lost their jobs and others are under a lot of pressure, this is because women tend to earn less money compared to men and women have fewer savings. In most parts of the world and in Zambia, women are disproportionately more in the informal economy. This is evident in our capital city Lusaka where most street vendors and sex workers are women. This is because women make the majority of single parent households not only in Zambia but the world at large and these women have to bear the burden of unpaid school fees and domestic work.
Traditional norms and gender roles in Zambia encourage women and young girls to stay home and to do household chores, and the recent surge of job loss due to the pandemic has made many people to go back to such traditions, the society's view on how a girl or a woman should behave has had a great impact to why Zambia has not had a female president or why only a small number of parliamentarians are female, the pandemic has contributed to this, in the sense that it has increased the number of girls who drop out of school, this makes it unlikely for those girls to make credible leaders.
Lack of government policies to support women and women-led businesses or organizations is one of the main cause of lack of women participation in national and international issues regarding leadership.
The pandemic has also made twenty five percent of self-employed women to lose their source of income contrary to the twenty one percent of self-employed men who lost their jobs.
This has showed Zambia and the world that if the pandemic continues to spread, women's paid labour and women run businesses will be hit hard.
With all this happening, the question still stands 'how can we achieve an equal future for women in leadership in a covid-19 world?', the answer to that question is hard to find but not impossible. The answer might just lie in all of us as Zambians.
For many centuries women have been considered to be inferior and not to be as hard working as men, but it has been women like the late princess Diana, Joyce Banda of Malawi and Michelle Obama, who have proved that women are also capable of leading a nation or organisation and we see many young women in Zambia taking up careers that were strictly done by men in the old days.
Though some still consider women to be merely child bearers and household workers but they are proving that they are more than objects- they are women with a vision.
The first thing to do for us to achieve an equal future for women in leadership is by first doing away with any traditional norms that view women to be mere assets and house workers but encourage traditions that respect women and treat them with dignity and value .
Strengthening and forming new government policies that intentionally enable economic relief measures and deliberately support women-led businesses and their income .
Women who are already in leadership do well by encouraging young women to take up responsibility and to train the youths of the good part of being a leader. Parents in homes can also lend a hand by teaching their children about leadership and by treating and providing equal opportunities to both girls and boys.
All in all it takes an entire village to raise a child and so it takes an entire Zambia to achieve an equal future for women in leadership despite the covid-19 pandemic.
NAME: WILSON NKHOMA AGE: 16 SCHOOL: The Kamwala Secondary School. TOWN: Lusaka PHONE NUMBER: 0972191583 EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org