Impact Relay report – women in politics/Zambia

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July 31, 2021 — before the August 12 election

LIVE online Watch Party: Zambia



The event was held to:

  1. Build awareness for the unique issues that women face when running for office in the Zambia
  2. Drive action towards change so that more women feel more comfortable and welcome to go after positions  in Government
  3. Gather post-screening Pioneers in Skirts impact survey responses
On July 31, 2021 in Zambia:
  • 28 out of 164 seats in Parliament are held by women.
  • 145 out of 1628 seats in local government are held by women.
  • In the last executive structure, only 30% of Cabinet members were women.
  • Women are also under-represented in national public administration structures such as directorate, Permanent Secretary level, in Commissions and public Boards (ZNWL 2018) with statistics averaging at 20%.
Opportunity and acceptance is low for women in Zambia, but women with disabilities fare much much worse:
  • Physical and communication barriers, such as sign language interpretation, alternative forms of communication and support services that are age and gender sensitive are not available.
  • The discrimination and stigma against girls and women makes them ashamed of themselves, with some reportedly hiding their disability.
  • Women and girls with disabilities face a cultural phenomenon in Zambia. Not even parents of disabled children think such individuals are not normal.

Presidential environment:

  • Since the Constitution was amended (in 2016) for Presidential candidates to be able to choose their own running mate’s, Zambia has seen women in the Vice president position (including as a result of this election).
  • Male Presidential candidates seem to have their chances favored when they have a female running mate but women running for the Presidential seat itself are still not that well supported.

The Discussion:

After we LIVE-SCREENED the film, we talked about the barriers women & girls encounter and how we all can play a part in the solution. It was enlightening, inspiring, and energizing!

The “Ambition In Politics” Expert Panelists:

Saboi Imboela – Chairperson of the Permanent Zambia Women in Politics Platform, an initiative of the Zambia National Women’s Lobby. The platform brings together women from various parties in the country with a mandate to unite women across party lines and advocate for increased participation of women in all parties using one united voice of the platform members. Saboi is a Political Scientist by profession. She holds a Political Science Degree from the University of Zambia and a Masters in International Law and Politics from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

Musola Cathrine Kaseketi – Zambian’s first female filmmaker, a Director and human rights activist. She is the Executive Director of Vilole Images Productions, a nonprofit organization dedicated to pursuing a focused vision of defending and promoting human rights, contributing to changing lives, and, through the power of film as a tool, provoking debate and bringing hope to the hopeless. Musola is the founder of Zambia’s first international film festival and Women & Girls with Disability Rights of Zambia. Through WGDRZ, Musola is passionate to see an inclusive friendly society where women and girls with disabilities are empowered, have equal opportunities and participate fully in social, cultural, economic, community and political development.

Musola studied filmmaking in SA at Newtown Film and Television School, Human Rights Advocacy at the Institute of Human Rights Study, Columbia University in New York and Human Rights and Cinema at the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratization in Venice.

Engwase Mwale – Executive Director, Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC). An advocate for gender equality and equity in Zambia, Engwase focuses on community mobilisation in both rural and urban settings. This work has contributed to her engagement with women of diverse backgrounds, especially having undergone training in advocacy and citizen engagement, gender and development, and community reporting for impact.

Ashley Maria – a director and writer located in Los Angeles, CA. The founder of Ashley Maria Productions, she is the recipient of the prestigious Directors Guild of America award, and is best known for her films and media work, including the comedy & horror shorts — Friday Night Fright and Volcano Girl, and her 2020 breakthrough production Pioneers in Skirts. She received her Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Ashley is also an advocate for advancing women’s opportunities. She is a North American delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women – the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women. When not on set, Ashley is a directing instructor at UCLA’s Film School and a sound instructor at the American Film Institute’s Young Women in Film program.


Rose Zulu Lowa – the Livingstone satellite Coordinator for the Women’s entrepreneurship Access Center (WEAC). Rose believes that film has the power to influence and create social change and envisages to use this powerful tool with a combination of all her passions, experiences and skills to make a difference. She is convinced that she will make a significant contribution in raising awareness on the Laws in Zambia through sharing these untold true Zambian crime stories. Her outstanding public speaking has led Rose to hosting numerous events with reputable establishments such as Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Christian Voice, Radio Phoenix, Vilole Images Productions and Multi Choice Talent Factory.

The Results:

Media Coverage: CBC TV, ZNBC Smooth-Talk

  • CBC Television is a Zambian owned general entertainment TV Station that provides local and international content, with over 3 million viewers per day. They can be found on DStv channel 277, GOtv channel 93 and TopStar channel 105 in Zambia.
  • ZNBC  — the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation is a Zambian public broadcaster that runs three television channels and three radio stations. Smooth-Talk is a television show that seeks to collaborate and integrate social networking & TV and deliver thought provoking and engaging content electronically with friends and strangers.

Election Activity: The team is disappointed with the reduced numbers of women winning political seats, but remain hopeful going forward. 

Post Election Report:  CLICK to read full report

  • The total number of elected Members of Parliament (MPs) as of 17th August 2021 stood at 154 out of the expected 156. To date: only 20 (13%) women | 134 (87%) men.
  • This is a reduction from 18% to 13 or 14%.
  • This female MP % can rise if the majority or all of the eight (8) MPs to be nominated by the Republican President are female.
  • Out of all the successful Mayoral/Council Chairperson candidates for the 115 District Councils, only 15 (13%) are women, representing a 4% increase from the 2016 General Elections.

Thank You:

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