By Saeed Simon Banda, Henry Chunza and Derrick Sinjela
Monday, 24th October, 2022
AS the World celebrates the United Nations Day on 24th October, Zambia National Men’s Network for Gender and Development (ZNMNGD) National Coordinator Nelson Banda is calling on the United Nations (UN) Secretary General (SG) António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres to consider introducing sanctions on elected World leaders failing to advance gender equality and increased the participation of women in leadership structures of Member States, as such a deliberate measure will hold erring leaders accountable.
Mr. Banda is worried that in many UN Member Countries, women are the majority of the population though their potential for economic growth remains untapped due to gender discrimination, unwillingness by leaders to increase their participation in leadership and governance, negative traditional practices, gender blind constitutional systems among noted hindrances.
Banda, a journalist by profession says Gender equality is a fundamental human right and an essential ingredient for achieving democratic societies entrenching full human potential and sustainable development for all.
The World is still very far from achieving full gender equality and opportunities between men and women. It is of great importance to end all forms of gender injustices and ensure equal participation in political spaces by both women and men at all levels of decision making. We feel it is time for the World body to introduce imposition of sanctions on democratically elected leaders of Member States failing to promote gender equality and women’s participation. The sanctions should be imposed in the same manner the UN has been applying sanctions on undemocratic leaders defying UN resolutions such as peace agreements and disarmament accords etcetera (etc). This will ensure that gender equality and the inclusion of women in leadership is taken to a new level of commitment by Member States,” implored Banda.
International protocols established towards the advancement of gender equality for instance; gender equality being made part of International Human Rights Law (IHRL) by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10th December 1948, the setting up of the Economic and Social Council (ESC) which established the Commission on the Status of Women, Declaration by the UN General Assembly of 1975 as the International Year of Women (IYW), the Declaration of 1976-1985 as the UN Decade for Women (UNDW), the 1979 General Assembly adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the 1980 Second World Conference on Women (SWCW), the 1985, World Conference, and 1995 Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women (BFWCW), which asserted women’s rights as human rights and committed to specific actions to ensure respect for those rights.
“While all these have been useful progress to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women, time has come for the UN to introduce imposition of sanctions against World leaders who have not honoured or implemented these important international commitments. We are of the view that imposition of sanctions on none conforming leaders would compel them to move the gender agenda and the participation of women in leadership to a new level. Many leaders especially in Africa have merely made pronouncements without taking practical steps to increase women’s participation in leadership. Gender equality and the participation of women in leadership should be a tool for measuring progress of sustainable development among UN member countries. This is because gender inequality is now one of the biggest challenges facing the 21st Century and therefore requires new commitment by world leaders,” advised Banda.
Banda believes that once all the countries increase the participation of women in decision making on a 50/50 scale, female leaders would help resolve some of the most pressing global challenges such as economic recessions and unjustifiable wars that are displacing women and children as endless refugees.