United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) has Country Representative, Clara Anyangwe, has lamented poor representation of female employees in decision-making positions in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services.
She has since challenged the department to empower female employees to enable them take an active role in decision-making processes in a bid to influence and help shape policies for creating a more conducive professional environment for female officers.
Anyangwe made the remarks in Mponela when she opened a three-day training of immigration officers in gender analysis and mainstreaming.
"We all have an obligation to ensure that women occupy their rightful space in the various spheres of life, including the work space, and it is my sincere belief that this training workshop shall significantly contribute to this goal, particularly in the department of immigration and citizenship services," she said.
Anyangwe stressed that the training workshop was therefore important as it shall equip the immigration officers with knowledge and skills for enhancing the mainstreaming of women's inclusiveness and participation in the professional space, the department of immigration and citizenship services, in particular.
"The knowledge and skills gained from this training workshop shall culminate in to the formation of the Immigration Women's Network, which shall in turn enable the women in the department of immigration and citizenship services to create a platform for information sharing and networking among them.
"It will also consolidate the voice of immigration women to lobby for legal and policy reforms in the advancement of gender equality and women empowerment," she said.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services Senior Deputy Director General (Operations), Fletcher Nyirenda, acknowledged the existence of serious gender disparities in the department.
Nyirenda said the department will soon conduct an institutional gender assessment in order to establish the extent to which gender matters have been integrated in its policy documents so that this provides a basis for future interventions.
"The analysis will also help identify gaps and facilitate in the formulation of evidence-based programmatic areas," he said.