ACTING Minister of Gender and Women in Development Brian Chituwo has said the African women in leadership have the capacity to promote gender equality in political leadership and strengthening the democratisation process in Africa.
Dr Chituwo said this on Monday in Lusaka during the official opening of the two-day women's leadership conference for East and Southern Africa.
He said African women should have more places in parliament and local government structures as a way to equip women in higher positions.
The conference attracted women mainly politicians from Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
The African Women's Development and Communication Network (FEMNET) and the Zambia Association for Research and Development (ZARD) and the Non-Government Organisation Coordination Council (NGOCC) organised the conference.
"Zambia will be holding elections next year and this conference is timely for women to come together to strategise, learn from each other's experience and develop networks with other female politicians," Dr Chituwo said.
He said the conference among others was intending to profile different women leaders that were flag bearers in political leadership at different levels and it was expected the women would become agents of change in strengthening democracy.
However, he reminded the participants that Zambia was committed to upholding democratic principles and would continue to promote the values of democracy, which called for equal participation of all citizens both men and women in national affairs.
To that effect, Zambia has since adopted the National Gender Policy in 2000. The policy calls for targeted actions to facilitate the increased involvement of women in leadership positions in all the sectors of the economy.
"While we remain committed to achieving equality in leadership positions between men and women, Government is cognisant of the strides made by countries such as South Africa and Uganda in increasing women's participation in leadership positions, many countries, Zambia included, are yet to achieve these targets," he said.