MINISTER of Gender and Child Development Nkandu Luo says women must boycott conjugal duties and also refuse to have children if gender-based violations and inequalities in Zambia continue.
Launching the HeForShe campaign in Lusaka yesterday, Professor Luo lamented that women are always being battered, while girl are dropping out of school as a result of repeatedly being defiled and abused.
“We cannot allow our women and girl children abused and defiled everyday; battered and humiliated in public by men who should be protecting them from such evils.
“If men continue with abuses, women should give them space and refuse to accept any advances towards them. This is the only way the message will be sent to men to know that women are not happy with their behaviour,” she said.
Prof Luo said campaigns for gender equality have been going on for decades but that very little has been done to address gender equalities.
She said now is the time for more action to strengthen and scale up the response to gender equality and develop appropriate nationwide interventions to reverse the trend.
“Women are not meant to be stepped on by men, but must be treated as partners because they have potential to do all a man can do,” Prof Luo said.
She also called on the church to join the gender equality campaign by preaching on it on Sundays.
Prof Luo said religious leaders enjoy the trust of multitudes of people and therefore they could give the campaign a boost if they come on board.
She said the HeForShe campaign aims to get men involved in ending gender-based inequalities and violations.
And UNDP representative Martin Maya said a day hardly passes in Zambia without one hearing stories of girls being married off at a tender age; a child being deprived of her childhood; or a woman brutally beaten or murdered.