GENDER EQUITY AND EQUALITY ACT
Arrangement of Sections
1. Short title and commencement
3. Superiority of Act
GENDER PRINCIPLES, POLICIES AND MEASURES
4. Principles achieving gender equity and equality
5. General powers of Minister for achieving gender equity and equality
GENDER EQUITY AND EQUALITY COMMISSION
6. Establishment of Commission
7. Seal of Commission
8. Autonomy of Commission
9. Functions of Commission
10. Board of Commission
11. Functions of Board
12. Committees of Board
13. Director, Secretary and other officers
GENDER EQUITY AND EQUALITY
14. Achieving gender equity and equality
15. Prohibition of discrimination
16. Upholding rights and dignity of male and female
17. Promoting gender equity and equality by public bodies
18. Promoting gender equity and equality by private bodies
19. Promoting gender equity and equality by public and private bodies
20. Right to nationality
21. Sexual reproductive rights
22. Marriage and family life
23. Economic empowerment
24. Equal representation and participation
25. Gender equity and equality measures in education curriculum
26. Special gender equity and equality measures for women in rural and peri-urban areas
ELIMINATION OF ALL FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN
27. Elimination of discrimination in economic and social life
28. Elimination of adverse social and cultural practices and conduct
29. Elimination of discrimination in public and political life
30. Elimination of discrimination in education and vocational guidance
31. Elimination of discrimination in employment
32. Elimination of discrimination in health care services
33. Elimination of discrimination in exercise of public functions
34. Elimination of discrimination in professional or trade organisation
35. Elimination of discrimination by qualifying bodies
36. Elimination of discrimination in disposal of property
37. Elimination of discrimination in provision of goods, services and facilities
38. Discrimination in relation to gender based violence
39. Prohibition of sexual harassment
40. Policy and procedures on sexual harassment
COMPLAINTS AND INVESTIGATIONS
41. Lodging of complaint
42. Consideration of complaint
43. Investigation by Commission
44. Request for information
45. Referral of matter
46. Collaboration on investigations
47. Directive of Minister on non-compliance
48. Compliance notice by Minister
49. Search without warrant
50. Search with warrant
51. Power to arrest
52. Compensation for expenses
53. Disclosures and reports by Commission
54. Recommended action by Commission
55. Civic awareness and empowerment training
56. General penalty
to establish the Gender Equity and Equality Commission and provide for its functions and powers; provide for the taking of measures and making of strategic decisions in all spheres of life in order to ensure gender equity, equality and integration of both sexes in society; promote gender equity and equality as a cross cutting issue in all spheres of life and stimulate productive resources and development opportunities for both sexes; prohibit harassment, victimisation and harmful social, cultural and religious practices; provide for public awareness and training on issues of gender equity and equality; provide for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, empower women and achieve gender equity and equality by giving effect to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa and the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development; and provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.
Act 22 of 2015.
This Act may be cited as the Gender Equity and Equality Act, 2015, and shall come into operation on such date as the Minister may appoint, by statutory instrument.
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
“adverse” means acting contrary, deciding unfavourably or being antagonistic to anything provided for in this Act or taking action which is harmful or not in the interest or welfare of women;
“affirmative action” means a policy, programme or measure that seeks to redress past discrimination to ensure equal opportunity and positive outcome in all spheres of life for women;
“African Protocol” means the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa adopted by the African Union in Maputo on the 11th July, 2003;
“appointed date” means the date the Minister appoints in accordance with section 1;
“authorisation” means a licence, permit, certificate, registration, enrolment, qualification or other permission issued by a qualifying body;
“authorised officer” means an employee of the Commission who is permitted by the Director to take action, decide or work on a particular matter;
“Board” means the Board constituted in accordance with section 10;
“boy” means a male person who is below the age of 18 years;
“child” means a person who is below the age of 18;
“Commission” means the Gender Equity and Equality Commission established in accordance with section 6;
“complainant” means a person who alleges that the Constitution or this Act has been contravened and who institutes proceedings in accordance with this Act;
“Convention” means the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, which entered into force on the 3rd September, 1981 and was ratified by Zambia on the 21st June, 1985;
“Director” means the person appointed chief executive officer of the Commission in accordance with section 13;
“discrimination” means a distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex or any other ground which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the dignity of a person or the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by a person of that person’s rights and freedoms as specified in the Constitution or any other law;
“educational institution” means a school, college, institute, university or other institution at which education, learning or training is provided;
“employee” has the meaning assigned to it in the Employment Act;
“employment” includes employment with a public body, part-time employment, temporary employment and employment under a contract, commission or apprenticeship;
“employer” means a person, firm, corporation, company, public authority or body of persons who or which has entered into a contract of service to engage a person, and includes an agent, representative, foreman or manager who is placed in authority over the person engaged;
“empower” means to gain access to opportunities and develop a person’s capacities so as to shape that person’s life or that of the person’s community, in all spheres of life, and “empowerment” shall be construed accordingly;
“equal remuneration” means the payment of rates, salary or other earnings without discrimination;
“equality” includes the full and equal enjoyment, by both sexes, of rights, opportunities, responsibilities and freedoms, and where both sexes are equally treated, in accordance with the Constitution and this Act;
“equity” means the just and fair distribution of benefits, rewards and opportunities between both sexes;
“girl” means a female person who is below the age of 18 years;
“gender” means the roles, duties and responsibilities which are culturally or socially ascribed to women, men, girls and boys;
“gender equality” means the state of being equal in terms of enjoyment of rights, treatment, quantity or value, access to opportunities and outcomes by, and in relation to, both sexes;
“gender mainstreaming” means the process of identifying gender gaps and making the concerns and experiences of both sexes integral to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all spheres of life so that both gender benefit equally;
“gender sensitive” means acknowledging and taking into account the specific gender needs at all levels of planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation;
“gender stereotypes” means the beliefs held about characteristics, traits and activity domains that are deemed appropriate for women, men, the girl child and boy child based on their conventional roles, domestically and socially;
“harassment” means engaging in conduct that induces in a person the fear of imminent harm or feelings of annoyance and aggravation, and includes—
(a) sexual harassment;
(b) psychosocial harassment;
(c) making persistent, unwelcome, nonconsensual communication or contact with a person, including—
(i) following, pursuing or accosting the person;
(ii) watching, loitering outside or near a building where the person resides, works, carries on business, studies or happens to be;
(iii) repeatedly making phone calls or using a third party to make phone calls to the person, whether or not conversation ensues;
(iv) repeatedly sending, delivering or causing the delivery of unsolicited, offensive or abusive letters, telegrams, packages, facsimiles, electronic mail, objects or messages to the person; or
(v) engaging in other menacing, annoying or aggravating behaviour;
“harmful practice” means a social, cultural or religious practice which—
(a) undermines the dignity, health or liberty of a person; or
(b) results in physical, sexual, emotional or psychological harm to a person;
“health” means the complete state of physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being of an individual and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity;
“Human Rights Commission” means the Commission established in accordance with the Constitution;
“Investigator-General” means the person appointed Investigator-General of the Republic in accordance with the Constitution;
“marital status” means the status or condition of being single, married, divorced or widowed;
“man” means a male person who is 18 years of age and above;
“multiple roles of women” means the several responsibilities that women shoulder in the reproductive, productive, community and management spheres of life;
“non-governmental organisation” means a private voluntary grouping of individuals or associations, whether corporate or unincorporated, not established or operated for profit, partisan politics or any commercial purposes, and who or which have organised themselves for the promotion of civic education, advocacy, human rights, social welfare, development, charity, research or other activity or program for the benefit or interest of the public, through resources mobilised from sources within or outside Zambia;
“private body” means a non-governmental organisation, political party, company, enterprise, partnership, firm, club, institute, trade union, federation or association or other organisation which is not a public body;
“property” includes real estate, personal property, legal interest in land or intellectual property;
“public body” means the Government, any Ministry or department of the Government, the National Assembly, the Judicature, a local authority, parastatal, board, council, authority, commission or other body appointed by the Government, or established by, or under, any written law;
“qualification” includes recognition, accreditation, reputation and certification;
“qualifying body” means a public body or private body that confers, issues, reviews, extends, revokes or withdraws an authorisation that is needed for, or facilitates the practice of, a profession, commencement or carrying on of a trade, occupation or vocation;
“right” means a privilege, immunity, exemption, favour, preference, advantage or benefit specified in the Constitution, Convention, African Protocol, SADC Protocol and this Act;
“SADC Protocol” means the Southern African Development Community Protocol on Gender and Development signed in Johannesburg, South Africa on the 17th August, 2008;
“spheres of life” means the economic, social, political, cultural, socio-economic or socio-political fields;
“sex” means the biological characteristics which define humans as female or male;
“sexual harassment” includes conduct or contact of a sexual nature, such as the following—
(a) having physical contact, making advances, comments or innuendos without the consent of a person;
(b) being offensive, humiliating or intimidating to a person in a suggestive manner; or
(c) threatening or imposing a condition on a person for doing or undertaking anything or creating a hostile environment for an employee;
“sexual reproductive rights” means the rights relating to sexuality, reproduction, sexual integrity, privacy and safety of the person, and includes the right to make free and responsible reproductive choices, receive sexual information based on scientific inquiry and receive sexual and reproductive health care in accordance with the Constitution and other laws;
“special measures” include programmes, affirmative action or steps designed to ensure gender equity and equality which promote equal opportunities, real choices and positive outcomes to—
(a) eliminate all forms of discrimination;
(b) provide empowerment for women; or
(c) afford equal participation in all spheres of life;
“victimisation” means the unfair treatment of a person by another person as a result of the person’s performance of, or refusal to perform, an action;
“woman” means a female person who is at least 18 years of age; and
“work of equal value” means work that is equal in terms of the demands it makes with regard to matters such as skill, duty, physical and material effort, responsibility, conditions of work and remuneration.
Subject to the Constitution, where there is an inconsistency between this Act and the provisions of any other written law, the provisions of this Act shall prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.
GENDER PRINCIPLES, POLICIES AND MEASURES
The following principles shall apply in matters related to gender—
(a) mainstreaming gender in all policies, legislation, programmes and budgets;
(b) observance of women’s rights as an integral part of attaining equity and equality in all spheres of life;
(c) non-exploitation, degrading or undermining of women;
(d) the prohibition of gender stereotyping;
(e) the empowerment of women as a key to achieving gender equity and equality;
(f) women, men, girls and boys have a key role in achieving gender equity and equality;
(g) public and private bodies shall work together as partners in a coordinated manner in achieving gender equity and equality;
(h) the elimination of gender bias;
(i) justice and fairness to survivors of gender-based violence to ensure dignity, protection and respect; and
(j) the recognition and respect of the multiple roles played by women.
(1) The Minister shall be responsible for the general implementation of this Act.
(2) The Minister shall, without prejudice to the generality of sub-section (1), in consultation with other relevant Ministers and the Commission—
(a) take appropriate measures to modify or abolish existing laws, customs and practices that are discriminatory in nature;
(b) develop an integrated framework for the empowerment of both sexes by setting realistic, measurable targets, time frames and indicators for achieving gender equity and equality;
(c) put in place affirmative action, with particular reference to women, in order to eliminate all barriers which prevent women from participating meaningfully in all spheres of life and create a conducive environment for such participation;
(d) ensure equal participation of both sexes in policy formulation and implementation of economic policies;
(e) ensure gender sensitive and responsive budgeting at the micro and macro levels, including tracking, monitoring and evaluation; and
(f) monitor the implementation of laws, policies and programmes that affect, or have an impact on, gender.
(3) The Minister shall ensure that public bodies, private bodies or other persons adopt special measures aimed at accelerating gender equity and equality.
(4) A special measure shall not be considered as discriminatory.
(5) The Minister shall, in the performance of the functions specified in sub-sections (1) and (2)—
(a) monitor and evaluate international, regional and national standards on gender equity and equality, especially as provided in the Convention, African Protocol and SADC Protocol, and if need be, recommend amendments to be made to this Act or any other written law;
(b) evaluate policies, programmes and practices of public bodies and private bodies relating to gender equality;
(c) evaluate and review, or cause to be evaluated and reviewed, laws, proposed laws and customary laws and practices affecting or likely to affect gender equity and equality or the marital status of women and recommend, where necessary, the revision of the law, proposed laws and customary practices;
(d) liaise with institutions, bodies or authorities with similar objectives to foster common policies and practices, including measures to promote cooperation in areas of gender and handling of complaints;
(e) encourage compliance with international conventions promoting women’s rights acceded to, or ratified by, Zambia and make such reports as may be required thereunder in liaison with other appropriate authorities;
(f) consider such recommendations, suggestions and requests promoting gender equity and equality received from any source and take such actions as may be appropriate; and
(g) put in place harmonised data collection mechanisms to improve data collection and ensure effective programming, planning and monitoring.
THE GENDER EQUITY AND EQUALITY COMMISSION
(1) There is established the Gender Equity and Equality Commission which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, capable of suing and of being sued in its corporate name and with power, subject to the provisions of this Act, to do all such things as a body corporate may, by law, do or perform.
(2) The provisions of the Schedule apply to the Commission.
(1) The seal of the Commission shall be such device as may be determined by the Commission and shall be kept by the Secretary.
(2) The affixing of the seal shall be authenticated by the Chairperson or the Vice-Chairperson and the Director or one other person authorised in that behalf by a resolution of the Board.
(3) A contract or instrument which, if entered into or executed by a person, not being a body corporate, is not required to be under seal, may be entered into or executed without seal on behalf of the Commission by the Director or any other person generally or specifically authorised by the Board in that behalf.
(4) A document purporting to be a document under the seal of the Commission or issued on behalf of the Commission shall be received in evidence and shall be executed or issued, as the case may be, without further proof, unless the contrary is proved.
(1) The Commission shall not be subject to the control or direction of any person or authority in the performance of its functions.
(2) The Commission shall be a self-accounting institution which deals directly with the Ministry responsible for finance in matters relating to its finances.
(3) The Commission shall be adequately funded in a financial year to enable it to effectively perform its functions.
(4) A member of the Commission shall perform the functions of office in good faith and without fear, favour, bias or prejudice.
(5) A public body shall accord the Commission the assistance reasonably required for the protection of its independence and the effective performance of its functions.
(1) The Commission is responsible for—
(a) ensuring, in liaison with the Ministry responsible for gender, that gender equality and equity is attained and mainstreamed in public and private affairs and structures;
(b) monitoring, investigating, researching, educating, lobbying, advising and reporting on issues concerning gender equity and equality;
(c) recommending, to appropriate authorities, any measures that need to be taken to ensure gender equity and equality; and
(d) taking steps, in liaison with appropriate authorities, to secure redress for complaints relating to gender equity and equality.
(2) Notwithstanding the generality of sub-section (1), the Commission shall—
(a) promote gender mainstreaming in the systems of governance;
(b) develop, undertake or manage information and educational programmes in order to promote public understanding of gender equity and equality; and
(c) perform such other functions as provided under this Act.
(1) There is constituted the Board of the Commission which is the governing body of the Commission.
(2) The provisions of the Schedule shall apply to the Board.
(3) The Board shall consist of seven part-time members appointed by the President, subject to ratification by the National Assembly.
(4) The President shall appoint persons who are experienced or have qualifications in human rights, gender, advocacy, customary laws, law, public administration, economics or development science, as members of the Board.
(5) The President shall, when making apointments in accordance with sub-sections (3) and (4), ensure that—
(a) 50 percent of each sex is appointed; and
(b) persons with disabilities and youths are represented.
(6) The members of the Board shall elect the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson from amongst themselves.
(7) A person shall not be appointed as a member of the Board if that person—
(a) has been convicted, within the preceding five years, of an offence under a written law and sentenced to imprisonment for a term exceeding six months;
(b) has a mental or physical disability that renders that person incapable of performing the duties of a member; or
(c) is an undischarged bankrupt.
Subject to this Act, the functions of the Board are to—
(a) ensure the effective and efficient performance of the functions of the Commission by the Director and other officers;
(b) approve the policy and strategic plans of the Commission;
(c) provide guidance to the Director and other officers in the performance of the functions of the Commission;
(d) approve the annual budget and audited accounts of the Commission;
(e) monitor and evaluate the performance of the Commission against budgets and plans;
(f) establish and approve rules, guidelines and procedures for the appointment, discipline, termination and conditions of service of the Director and other officers; and
(g) perform any other function conferred or imposed on the Board by or under this Act.
(1) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this Act, the Board may constitute such committees as it considers necessary and delegate to the committees any of the functions of the Commission or its functions.
(2) The Board may appoint as a member of a committee, constituted under sub-section (1), a person who is or is not a member of the Board, except that at least one member shall be a member of the Board.
(3) A person serving as a member of a committee shall hold office for such period as the Board may determine.
(4) Subject to any specific or general direction of the Board, a committee of the Board may regulate its own procedure.
(1) The Board shall appoint a Director for the Commission.
(2) The Director shall be the chief executive officer of the Commission and shall be responsible, under the direction of the Board, for the performance of the functions of the Commission and the administration of the affairs of the Commission.
(3) Subject to this Act, the Board may, by direction in writing, and subject to any terms and conditions as it considers necessary, delegate to the Director any of its functions under this Act.
(4) The Board may appoint a Secretary and such other officers for the Commission as it considers necessary for the performance of the functions of the Commission.
GENDER EQUITY AND EQUALITY
(1) The following shall apply in achieving gender equity and equality—
(a) both sexes shall enjoy equal rights before the law;
(b) both sexes shall have equal access to justice and protection before the law;
(c) all practices which are detrimental to the achievement of the objectives of this Act are prohibited and, where committed, shall be prosecuted under the appropriate laws, without delay;
(d) both sexes shall have equal access and rights to credit, capital, mortgages, security and training;
(e) both sexes shall have equal access to water rights and property; and
(f) both sexes shall have equal access to modern, appropriate and affordable technology and support services.
(2) A woman shall have the legal capacity to—
(a) conclude contracts and other legal instruments;
(b) acquire, own, inherit and administer property; and
(c) choose residence and domicile.
(1) A person, public body or private body shall not discriminate against any sex.
(2) A person, public body or private body shall not discriminate against a woman due to the woman’s pregnancy or the fact that she has given birth to a child.
(3) The Judicature shall take necessary measures to ensure that both sexes have equal and effective protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination.
(4) A person who, or public body or private body which contravenes sub-section (1) or (2) commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to the general penalty provided for in section 56.
(5) Where it is proved in the prosecution of an offence that discrimination was a factor in the commission of the offence, it shall be an aggravating circumstance for purposes of imposing a sentence.
(1) A person, public body and private body has a duty to uphold the rights of both sexes and to respect and safeguard the dignity of both sexes.
(2) A person, public body or private body shall not exploit or subject any person to abusive, violent or degrading treatment.
(3) A person who contravenes sub-section (2) commits an offence and is liable to prosecution and punishment in accordance with the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act, 2011, and any other law.
(1) A public body has a duty and responsibility to promote gender equity and equality.
(2) A public body shall—
(a) develop awareness programmes on fundamental rights and freedoms in order to promote gender equity and equality;
(b) within the available resources allocated to that public body—
(i) develop action plans to address gender equity, equality, discrimination and harassment within the public body;
(ii) develop codes of practice and ethics for its officers to assist in promoting gender equity and equality;
(iii) provide assistance, advice and training to its officers on gender equity and equality;
(iv) develop appropriate internal mechanisms to deal with complaints of discrimination and harassment; and
(v) conduct information and advocacy campaigns to promote gender equity and equality; and
(c) audit laws, policies and practices with a view to eliminating all forms of discrimination against any gender.
(3) An action plan for achieving gender equity and equality shall be developed by a public body within two years after the commencement of this Act and be submitted to the Ministry responsible for gender.
(4) The Ministry responsible for gender shall consult with the Human Rights Commission and other stakeholders before finalising and approving an action plan for a public body submitted in accordance with sub-section (3).
(1) A private body shall—
(a) develop equity and equality plans, codes of practice, regulatory mechanisms and other appropriate measures for the effective promotion of gender equity and equality in the area of its operation;
(b) enforce and monitor the enforcement of the equity and equality plans, codes of practice and regulatory mechanisms developed by the private body; and
(c) make regular reports to the Ministry responsible for gender, the Commission and other relevant monitoring authorities, as may be prescribed in accordance with sub-section (2).
(2) The Minister shall, by statutory instrument, make regulations on the development and implementation of, and reporting on, equity and equality plans and codes of practice by private bodies, in a manner proportionate to a private body’s size, resources and influence.
(1) All public bodies and private bodies shall, within their ambit of responsibility, promote gender equity and equality in all spheres of life by—
(a) changing the conditions and circumstances which hinder achievement of sustainable and substantive gender equity and equality;
(b) mainstreaming gender in all strategies, policies, programmes and budgets so as to empower and benefit both sexes;
(c) ensuring accommodation of the needs and interests of both sexes;
(d) establishing appropriate and special measures designed to recognise and support the multiple roles of women;
(e) enforcing gender equity and equality legislation, policies and strategies by—
(i) setting targets to improve compliance with such legislation, policies and strategies;
(ii) auditing factors that cause and contribute to non-compliance with such legislation, policies and strategies;
(iii) encouraging and rewarding compliance with such legislation, policies and strategies;
(iv) activating sanction for non-compliance with such legislation, policies and strategies; and
(v) implementing appropriate corrective measures that may be needed to improve and achieve compliance with such legislation, policies and strategies.
(2) All public bodies and private bodies shall implement special measures which actively seek to—
(a) eliminate all forms of discrimination;
(b) afford both sexes equal representation and participation in all spheres of life; and
(c) eliminate the exploitation of both sexes in the labour market.
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