Zambian president promises to give women more positions in government

In festivities to mark International Women's Day, President Levy Mwanawasa promised to give women in his country more decision-making positions in government and other public sectors Women marched in the capital, the border town of Livingstone and the Copperbelt mining region following a week of activities such as cleaning hospital wards, raising funds for charity and buying food for the poor.

In a national address, Mwanawasa said that Zambia had not reached the regional benchmark of 30 percent female representation in national life, but it had made significant progress toward gender equality.

He said that women accounted for 25 percent of permanent secretaries in the civil service; 23 percent of directors; 18 percent of deputy directors and 42 percent of foreign-based Zambian diplomats. He said that five out of 20 Cabinet ministers were women. "Female representation in parliament has increased from 6.3 percent in 1991 to 12.6 percent in the current parliament," Mwanawasa noted, reports the AP.


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