Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat International Development Minister has been visiting Zambia and blogging about her trip. In her first day she wrote about a UK-funded empowerment programme for adolescent girls. She followed that with an account of programmes in the rural south supporting education, health care, private sector development, social support, and reducing gender-based violence.
She spent the final day of her visit with the Minister for Gender, and together they launched 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence in Zambia.
I shared with the audience some of our experience of tackling violence against women in the UK – still a huge challenge – and our determination to support vulnerable women across the world. This includes a new research and innovation fund to prevent and tackle violence against women and girls, announced yesterday in London.
Some have described the 2000′s as a lost decade for women’s rights in Zambia. Zambia ranks 131 out of 146 countries in the Gender Inequality Index and 47% of women in Zambia have experienced gender-based violence. But I have been encouraged during my visit to learn of more recent progress – including a law against gender-based violence passed last year.
Then she writes about one women who has used her position to bring about improvements for women.
One influential woman determined to make a difference is the First Lady, Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata. She explained to me Zambia’s progress in implementing its commitments made at the Family Planning Summit (London, July 2012). Dr Kaseba-Sata, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist in Zambia for more than 25 years, is also determined to tackle maternal mortality and cervical cancer – the most common cancer in Zambia. What a fantastic example of a woman using her expertise and position to make a difference for the most vulnerable in her country.
You can read the full post here.
* Mary Reid is the Monday Editor on Lib Dem Voice.