Non-governmental organisation coordinating council (NGOCC) says Given that the national budget determines how the Government mobilizes and allocates public resources, Government’s efforts of reducing poverty in Zambia must consider the problem of gender inequalities.
The women movement has noted that 68percent of the population of Zambia lives below the poverty line and out of which 53percent live in extreme poverty.
It says the majority of the poor are women; yet they contribute to a larger extent to food production and essential social structures than men do and at the same time women lack economic, social and political power.
The ngocc has stated that this excludes women from decision-making processes, participation in public debates and accessing services, such as health care.
It says the women exclusion and resulting vulnerability must be recognized as a structural tool of discrimination and marginalization, which does not solely harm women, but impedes the development of the entire country.
They have stressed that Gender inequality contributes to major losses in economic efficiency and human development therefore gender budget initiatives can reconcile the objectives of gender equality, human development and economic efficiency.
The organisation says Gender Budgeting is a strategy for ensuring gender sensitive resource allocation and is a tool for engendering macro economic policy and a mechanism that recognizes the fact that men generally benefit more from budget allocations than women.
The women have stated that it thus intends to improve women’s poor socio-economic status by providing them with resources that promote their well-being and empowerment.
They have pointed out that it is not a separate budget for women, but a general budget analyzed or constructed from a gender perspective which involves analyses of actual government expenditure and revenue on women and girls in comparison to that of men and boys and in comparison to their unique needs.
The organisation says it is widely known that women’s economic empowerment promotes the strengthening of social structures, as it is used to benefit the family while generally men tend to spend the majority of their income on discretionary goods.
The ngocc says these examples do not intend to show that women are of a better nature but rather suggest the socially constructed roles of women and men and how their diverse socialization impacts on their behavior and sense of responsibility.
In order to strive for an egalitarian, the woemen movement says democratic society capable of promoting social and economic development, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning must address how the various budget allocations have a different impact on women and men.
It says Gender disaggregated data becomes very crucial here and needs to be provided.
Its says government must further be examined how vulnerabilities can be reduced; abilities of women and men strengthened and how equal access can be ensured in order to effectively fight poverty, disease and strengthen the social infrastructure and hence actively work for the development of Zambia./////