The Need for a New Women’s Movement: Lipstick Women and the Dissatisfaction with NGOCC
By Dr Mwelwa
In a recent press briefing, women from various political backgrounds came together to voice their concerns about the National Women’s Lobbying Group (NGOCC), claiming that it has lost its original purpose and become an organization catering solely to women in positions of power and privilege. These women argue that NGOCC has abandoned its grassroots origins and transformed into a platform for “lipstick women,” the elite who are disconnected from the realities faced by ordinary women.
Their grievances stem from a recent incident involving the NGOCC Chairperson, who expressed solidarity with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms. Nelly Mutti, after she faced a motion of impeachment brought by opposition MPs. Prior to the scheduled vote on the motion, the MPs were abruptly suspended, raising concerns among stakeholders and even accusations against Mutti for breaching the constitution.
NGOCC’s show of support for Mutti without consulting its members has caused controversy. Critics argue that the chairperson’s actions undermine the organization’s credibility and legitimacy, as her decision seemingly disregarded the collective voice of the women NGOCC claims to represent.
Prominent women who participated in the press briefing, including President Edith Nawakwi of the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), President Saboi Imboela of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), President Chishala Kateka of the New Heritage Party, and Honorable Given Katuta Mwelwa, a Member of Parliament from the Chienge Constituency, highlighted the need for a new women’s movement that addresses the concerns of all women, regardless of political background or social status.
These women argue that the time has come for a fresh movement that prioritizes grassroots empowerment, inclusivity, and genuine representation. They envision an organization that incorporates the voices of everyday women, rather than focusing exclusively on the elites and those in positions of power.
The call for a new women’s movement stems from the belief that NGOs like NGOCC have lost their way and no longer effectively advocate for women’s rights. The current system, they argue, perpetuates a cycle of exclusion and marginalization, where the concerns of ordinary women are overshadowed by the interests of a few privileged individuals.
To address this, the proposed movement would prioritize the restoration of grassroots engagement and the amplification of women’s voices across all sectors of society. It would strive to bridge the disconnect between women in power and those they claim to represent, ensuring that decisions are made collectively and reflect the diverse needs and aspirations of women from all walks of life.
Critics may argue that the existence of multiple women’s rights organizations already addresses the concerns raised by these women. However, they contend that a new movement is necessary to revitalize the fight for gender equality and redirect the focus back to the women most marginalized and affected by deeply rooted inequalities.
In conclusion, the press briefing held by influential women from various political backgrounds shed light on the need for a new women’s movement that genuinely represents grassroots women and addresses their concerns. The current state of affairs within NGOCC and other similar organizations highlight the urgency for change. This proposed movement would strive to bridge the gap between women in power and ordinary women, working towards a society where every woman’s voice is heard and gender equality is truly achieved.