By PETER MALASHA
Government is addressing imbalances between men and women in the development process of the country, Gender Minister Elizabeth Phiri has said.
She observed that imbalances were mainly due to social and cultural orientations.
Ms Phiri said this during handing over of farm equipment to 11 women clubs through Government’s women empowerment programme at a ceremony held in Mkushi.
She said to address disparities, Government has put in place several programmes aimed at addressing imbalances.
Ms Phiri said her ministry was still implementing the women economic empowerment fund which was introduced in 2010.
She said under the programme, women clubs and cooperatives were encouraged to enter into enterprising activities through provision of start-up capital as well as equipment to help them generate income for their households.
Ms Phiri said, however, that Government had realised that clubs did not offer sustainable way of providing economic advancement.
This is because clubs were limited in the scope of operations. Government, she said, would always encourage citizens, women inclusive, to form cooperatives so as to harness the initiative that different institutions were offering.
“This is the reason Government has thought of empowering a woman because we believe that when a woman is empowered, she will then empower the family, the community and the nation,” she said.
And Mkushi North Member of Parliament, Doreen Mwape, said Government did not want to leave any one behind in development, hence empowering women as partners in development. Ms Mwape said Government’s development agenda was enshrined in the Seventh National Development Plan which encourages development efforts towards vision 2030 without leaving anyone behind.
“It is for this reason such efforts of Government are now reaching people and that is why today 11 clubs are being empowered through the Ministry of Gender with various items,” Ms Mwape said.
During the handing over ceremony, beneficiary clubs got away with, oxcarts, wheelbarrows and peanut butter-making machines.
Others items included, poultry drinkers, feeders, hand ploughs and spindle pumps.