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The ‘Shadow Pandemic’: Violence Against Women in African Politics - A Case of Zambia.

Ahead of the Generation Equality Forum Paris scheduled to take place from 30 June – 2 July, the Government of the Republic of Zambia in collaboration with UNFPA hosted a high-level panel discussion on violence against women in politics. Featuring high-profile women leaders, the pre-forum event underscored concrete, ambitious and sustainable actions required to achieve gender equality in African politics.

Panelists included H.E. Ms. Inonge Mutukwa Wina MP, Vice President of the Republic of Zambia; Ms. Hannah Tetteh, UN Secretary Generals Special Representative to the African Union; Dr Julitta Onabanjo, UNFPA Regional Director for East and Southern Africa (on behalf of Ms. Diene Keita, UNFPA Deputy Executive Director); Dr. Coumba Mar Gadio, UN Zambia Resident Coordinator; Ms. Carin Jämtin, Director General, Swedish International Development Agency; and Ms. Patricia Mphanza Ndhlovu, an aspiring Parliamentary Candidate in Zambia.

The event contributed to building momentum towards the main Forum, which launched a 5-year action journey to achieve irreversible progress towards gender equality, founded on a series of transformative actions, including $40 billion in financial commitments. UNFPA's key commitments to the Generation Equality Forum included strengthening comprehensive sexuality education, improving access to contraception, contributing to women and girls decision-making and bodily autonomy through reproductive rights literacy, improving effective gender-based violence coordination, prevention and response, ending female genital mutilation and child marriage, and supporting feminist movements.

Quotes

"We cannot over emphasize the fact that women’s participation in politics is very critical in any democracy. Women have a unique contribution to good governance, democracy and development." - H.E. Ms. Inonge Mutukwa Wina MP, Vice President of the Republic of Zambia.

“Political actors need to stand up for women’s rights, to ensure women in politics are protected before, during and after elections” - Ms. Hannah Tetteh, UNSG Special Representative to the AU.

"We need to be more ambitious about what we do to accelerate our efforts towards gender equality. We need to do much more and much faster" - Dr Julitta Onabanjo, UNFPA Regional Director for East and Southern Africa (on behalf of Ms. Diene Keita, Deputy Executive Director, UNFPA).

 “An electoral process that is free from violence against women is possible, only if society can commit to the protection and the rights of women in politics” - Dr. Coumba Mar Gadio, UN Zambia Resident Coordinator.

“Effective policies and voter education are key enablers to enhance women’s participation in political processes” - Ms. Carin Jämtin, Director General – SIDA

"Being a female candidate, I have to work 3 to 5 times harder to market myself compared to my male counterparts. This narrative needs to change." - Ms. Patricia M Ndhlovu, aspiring parliamentary candidate.